A lovely introduction to the impact that a creative mind can have on the world.

THE SHAPE OF THE WORLD

A PORTRAIT OF FRANK LLOYD WRIGHT

A whimsical look at the life of one of the best-known American architects.

Surrounded by pictures of famous buildings in his nursery, a white baby’s mother encourages him to soak up images of the world around him. Playing with blocks gives young Frank a sense of how geometry works, and summers on his uncle’s farm allow him to experience nature and discover shapes in everything he sees. Art and text work together to convey an inevitability to Wright’s growth toward his famous Prairie style architecture. Stringer’s watercolor illustrations depict the contrasting yet complementary geometric shapes and curved lines that characterize Wright’s work. The book’s strong design begins with its nearly square shape and a cover that’s reminiscent of one of Wright’s leaded stained glass windows. The theme of windows looking out onto the world is evident throughout, incorporating elements unique to Wright’s style. Rich colors are balanced with a clear, direct storyline that will capture children’s natural interest in the stuff of imagination. Simple prose set in a light type that reflects Wright’s art serves as a jumping-off point for each of the expansive illustrations, giving young readers ample opportunity to discover hidden gems in the pages, such as the red squares that are scattered throughout Wright’s work.

A lovely introduction to the impact that a creative mind can have on the world. (author’s note, illustrator’s note, sources, key to works depicted) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 5, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4424-7821-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2017

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Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments.

SUPERHEROES ARE EVERYWHERE

The junior senator from California introduces family and friends as everyday superheroes.

The endpapers are covered with cascades of, mostly, early childhood snapshots (“This is me contemplating the future”—caregivers of toddlers will recognize that abstracted look). In between, Harris introduces heroes in her life who have shaped her character: her mom and dad, whose superpowers were, respectively, to make her feel special and brave; an older neighbor known for her kindness; grandparents in India and Jamaica who “[stood] up for what’s right” (albeit in unspecified ways); other relatives and a teacher who opened her awareness to a wider world; and finally iconic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley who “protected people by using the power of words and ideas” and whose examples inspired her to become a lawyer. “Heroes are…YOU!” she concludes, closing with a bulleted Hero Code and a timeline of her legal and political career that ends with her 2017 swearing-in as senator. In group scenes, some of the figures in the bright, simplistic digital illustrations have Asian features, some are in wheelchairs, nearly all are people of color. Almost all are smiling or grinning. Roe provides everyone identified as a role model with a cape and poses the author, who is seen at different ages wearing an identifying heart pin or decoration, next to each.

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984837-49-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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