Overall, an appealing, informative picture-book biography that showcases the accomplishments of a great American heroine.

THE ONLY WOMAN IN THE PHOTO

FRANCES PERKINS & HER NEW DEAL FOR AMERICA

“When someone opens a door to you, go forward.”

From shy child to keen observer, vocal activist to highly effective political adviser, Frances Perkins led a life of tremendous worth, helping others as a volunteer, social worker, expert investigator, workplace-safety regulator, industrial commissioner, and, ultimately, the first woman Secretary of Labor. Brimming with realistic detail about the difficulties of pursuing one’s goals and making a difference while functioning as a woman in the first half of the 20th century, this appealing volume features colorful and appealing animation-inflected illustrations peppered with ideas that inspired Perkins; these appear as banners, headlines, and signposts throughout the story. Krull smoothly describes Perkins’ influences and motivations, her sensitivity to and awareness of injustice, how she overcame some of the fears and constraints she faced, her development as an advocate, and her many accomplishments—including her major contributions to (some say authorship of) FDR’s New Deal and the adoption of the Social Security Act—in a kid-friendly and accessible manner, focusing almost entirely on Perkins’ professional accomplishments. As for Perkins’ personal life, the afterword briefly refers to her husband and daughter within the context of their “significant health problems” (both experienced mental illness), but the text is silent on Perkins’ same-sex relationship following her husband’s institutionalization.

Overall, an appealing, informative picture-book biography that showcases the accomplishments of a great American heroine. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-9151-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom.

MORE THAN PEACH

A Black girl’s simple observation propels her into activism.

Woodard, who launched the More Than Peach Project—which arranges for classrooms and children in need to receive kits that include art supplies and boxes of multicultural crayons (crayons in a variety of skin tones)—relates the incident that sparked her journey. As the book begins, she is dropped off at school and notices that her family’s skin tone differs from that of her classmates. While it is clear that she is one of a few children of color at school, that difference isn’t really felt until her friends start asking for the “skin-color” crayon when they mean peach. She’s bothered that no one else seems to notice that skin comes in many colors, so she devises a unique way of bringing everyone’s attention to that fact. With support from her family and her school, she encourages her fellow classmates to rethink their language and starts an initiative to ensure that everyone’s skin tone is represented in each crayon box. Appealing, realistic artwork depicts Woodard’s experiences, while endpapers feature More Than Peach crayon boxes and childlike illustrations of kids of different ethnicities doing various activities. The story is stirring and will motivate budding activists. (This book was reviewed digitally; the review has been updated for factual accuracy.)

An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom. (note from Woodard, information on Woodard’s journey into activism, instructions on starting a drive) (Picture-book biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-80927-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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Blandly laudatory.

I AM WALT DISNEY

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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