Well-told and illustrated, Gibb’s story speaks to not only women’s fight for equality, but the power of community.

THE GIRL WHO RAN

BOBBI GIBB, THE FIRST WOMAN TO RUN THE BOSTON MARATHON

In cooperation with Gibb herself, Poletti and Yee tell the story of the first woman to run the Boston Marathon, questioning authority with her feet.

The Boston Marathon had been taking place for 70 years when Bobbi Gibb, a white woman, steps illegally to the starting line in 1966, a hoodie covering her hair. Her road there is strewn with the land mines of bias, everything from “So unladylike” to the official comments on the rejection to her application: “Women cannot run marathons. It’s against the rules.” Poletti and Yee neatly evoke the joy some find in running, simply running. Gibb “ran with her pack, going higher and higher, / the world whooshing by, like the wind in the fire.” Such couplets are found every few pages, the last four words the refrain. Readers gain a sense of the experience through Chapman’s artwork, the light-footed energy of the watercolors slipping outside the pen’s fine line, a veil of wind trailing behind Gibb. Halfway through the race her ruse is up. She is boiling in her hoodie and confides to a fellow marathoner, a black man, that she is afraid of ejection. “We won’t let anyone throw you out; it’s a free road.”

Well-told and illustrated, Gibb’s story speaks to not only women’s fight for equality, but the power of community. (biographical note, timeline) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-47-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: April 26, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2017

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Sincere and wholehearted.

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I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Not astonishingly go-out-and-buy-it-at-graduation inspirational, but all it takes is one seed of change to be planted.

GOING PLACES

Imagination soars—quite literally—when a little girl follows her own set of rules.

Every year Oak Hill School has a go-kart race called the Going Places contest. Students are given identical go-kart kits with a precise set of instructions. And of course, every single kart ends up exactly the same. Every one, that is, except Maya’s. Maya is a dreamy artist, and she would rather sketch birds in her backyard than get caught up in the competition. When she finally does start working, she uses the parts in the go-kart box but creates something completely different. No one ever said it had to be a go-kart. Maya’s creative thinking inspires Rafael, her neighbor (and the most enthusiastic Going Places contestant), to ask to team up. The instructions never say they couldn’t work together, either! An ode to creativity and individuality to be sure, but the Reynolds brothers are also taking a swipe at modern education: Endless repetition and following instructions without question create a culture of conformity. Hopefully now, readers will see infinite possibility every time the system hands them an identical go-kart box.

Not astonishingly go-out-and-buy-it-at-graduation inspirational, but all it takes is one seed of change to be planted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-6608-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2014

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