Bright, well-researched, and welcome.

FRED'S BIG FEELINGS

THE LIFE AND LEGACY OF MISTER ROGERS

An account of the life of this humble giant of children’s television.

Children know about emotions perhaps before any other concepts—big emotions, too, like fear, sadness, frustration, joy, love. Fred Rogers understood this and used the medium of television to connect with children and help them manage and accept their emotions. From a childhood often spent inside and isolated from other children who bullied him to his career change from ministry to children’s media, Rogers’ life was punctuated and driven by the emotions he felt, recognized, and then used to add authenticity and tenderness to his television shows. Using second person, as well as Rogers’ iconic phrase, “Hello neighbor,” Renauld’s lively, approachable text welcomes young readers in the same way that Rogers welcomed his young viewers into his living-room set. Words describing emotions are italicized throughout for emphasis and recognition by children, and myriad details offer touchstones for grown-ups familiar with the show. Bold colors spotlight each spread, especially an array of individual panels that illustrate the feelings children experience daily. The book ends as it began, with a message validating each reader’s intrinsic worth; it’s one we should all have in our hearts, every day of our lives. A note from the author offers additional biographical details. It’s an excellent companion to You Are My Friend, by Aimee Reid and Matt Phelan (2019), with a personality all its own.

Bright, well-researched, and welcome. (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-4122-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 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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A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era.

I AM RUBY BRIDGES

The New Orleans school child who famously broke the color line in 1960 while surrounded by federal marshals describes the early days of her experience from a 6-year-old’s perspective.

Bridges told her tale to younger children in 2009’s Ruby Bridges Goes to School, but here the sensibility is more personal, and the sometimes-shocking historical photos have been replaced by uplifting painted scenes. “I didn’t find out what being ‘the first’ really meant until the day I arrived at this new school,” she writes. Unfrightened by the crowd of “screaming white people” that greets her at the school’s door (she thinks it’s like Mardi Gras) but surprised to find herself the only child in her classroom, and even the entire building, she gradually realizes the significance of her act as (in Smith’s illustration) she compares a small personal photo to the all-White class photos posted on a bulletin board and sees the difference. As she reflects on her new understanding, symbolic scenes first depict other dark-skinned children marching into classes in her wake to friendly greetings from lighter-skinned classmates (“School is just school,” she sensibly concludes, “and kids are just kids”) and finally an image of the bright-eyed icon posed next to a soaring bridge of reconciliation. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era. (author and illustrator notes, glossary) (Autobiographical picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-75388-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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