An excellent perspective from which American readers can learn about apartheid and one of the pioneers who fought it through...

MAMA AFRICA!

HOW MIRIAM MAKEBA SPREAD HOPE WITH HER SONG

Buoyed by the work of Nelson Mandela and the music of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, Miriam sang to make black South Africans free.

Born in 1932 near Johannesburg, Miriam Makeba “sang as soon as she could talk.” Growing up in apartheid-era South Africa, she rebelled against unjust laws restricting where blacks could go and what they could do, and she fought that racism with her songs, even singing subversively in languages the government officials could not understand. Eventually, Miriam illegally left South Africa to sing internationally and tell the world that blacks were dying because of apartheid. Throughout the book, white rectangular text boxes convey the discriminatory actions of the baases (white ruling class), while black-backgrounded text boxes present Makeba’s words and efforts to fight racism—making white negative and black positive. Palmer’s densely illustrated, painterly scenes give readers a strong sense of the culture and beauty of South Africa. His images of people, however, often include just enough detail to reveal their emotions. The backmatter offers a single timeline of Makeba’s life and the U.S. civil rights movement, a glossary, and copious research resources. Erskine, a white woman who, as a child, lived in South Africa during apartheid, includes photos of her young self working for social justice.

An excellent perspective from which American readers can learn about apartheid and one of the pioneers who fought it through her art . (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 10, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-374-30301-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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A galloping marvel—enlightening and entertaining.

DR. SEUSS'S HORSE MUSEUM

A succinct introduction to art history via a Seussian museum of equine art.

This posthumously published text recently discovered in Ted Geisel’s studio uses horse-focused art pieces to provide historical context to artistic movements. Showing art ranging from the Lascaux cave paintings to an untitled 1994 sculpture by Deborah Butterfield, Joyner’s playful illustrations surround the curated photographs of art pieces. By using horses as the departing point in the artistic journey, Seuss and Joyner are able to introduce diverse perspectives, artifacts, and media, including Harnessed Horse from the northern Wei dynasty, a Navajo pictorial blanket titled Oh, My Beautiful Horses, and photographs by Eadweard Muybridge. Questions to readers prompt thought about the artistic concepts introduced, aided by a cast of diverse museumgoers who demonstrate the art terms in action. Joyner further engages readers by illustrating both general cultural and Seussian references. Glimpses of the Cat in the Hat are seen throughout the book; he poses as a silent observer, genially guarding Seuss’ legacy. For art enthusiasts, some illustrations become an inside joke, as references to artists such as Alexander Calder, Salvador Dalí, Marina Abramovic, and René Magritte make appearances. Thorough backmatter contains notes on each art piece referenced along with a study of the manuscript’s history and Seuss’ artistic style. Absent, probably unsurprisingly, is any acknowledgment of the Cat’s antecedents in minstrelsy and Seuss’ other racist work, but prominent among the museumgoers are black- and Asian-presenting characters as well as a girl wearing hijab and a child who uses a wheelchair.

A galloping marvel—enlightening and entertaining. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-399-55912-9

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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An important and inspiring tale well told.

CARTER READS THE NEWSPAPER

This biography of the “father of Black History,” Dr. Carter G. Woodson, highlights experiences that shaped his passion.

Carter was born after the Civil War, but his parents had been slaves, and he grew up hearing the stories of their lives. With six siblings, Carter experienced lean times as a boy. Carter’s father, who couldn’t read or write, had Carter read the newspaper aloud. As a teenager, Carter had to work to help his family. In the coal mines, he met Oliver Jones, a Civil War veteran who opened his small home to the other men as a reading room. There, Carter once again took on the role of reader, informing Oliver and his friends of what was in the paper—and then researching to tell them more. After three years in the mines, he moved home to continue his education, eventually earning a Ph.D. from Harvard, where a professor challenged him to prove that his people had a history. In 1926 he established Negro History Week, which later became Black History Month. Hopkinson skillfully shapes Carter’s childhood, family history, and formative experiences into a cohesive story. The soft curves and natural palette of Tate’s illustrations render potentially scary episodes manageable for young readers, and portraits of historical figures offer an opening to further discovery. The incorporation of newsprint into many page backgrounds artfully echoes the title, and the inclusion of notable figures from black history reinforces the theme (a key is in the backmatter).

An important and inspiring tale well told. (author’s note, illustrator’s note, resources, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-56145-934-6

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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