From the She Persisted series

A noteworthy start for chapter-book readers wishing to read more about young leaders of the movement.

Cline-Ransom writes the moving story of young civil rights pioneer Claudette Colvin in this chapter-book biography that expands the She Persisted picture-book series created by Chelsea Clinton and Alexandra Boiger.

Weaving together detailed historical background and personal information about Colvin’s life, Cline-Ransome brings the teen activist to life with great compassion and impressive brevity. From her humble beginnings in Pine Level, Alabama, to the loss of her sister to polio when Colvin was 13, readers learn the personal struggles the youth experienced as well as some of her triumphs, such as her frequent victories in class spelling bees, before being pushed into the spotlight for refusing to give up her seat to a White woman months before Rosa Parks would. The book very briefly discusses the politics behind why Colvin is lesser-known than Rosa Parks, focusing on community activists’ leeriness of her youth and not mentioning her pregnancy. With an eye toward the audience, the book keeps Colvin’s emotional journey at its heart even as it summarizes the boycott in conclusion. Flint’s occasional black-and-white interior illustrations emulate Boiger’s airy style, depicting Colvin with her loving family, riding in a Montgomery bus in a scene foreshadowing her history-making moment, and praying in a jail cell. Suggestions for how readers might persist appear in the backmatter.

A noteworthy start for chapter-book readers wishing to read more about young leaders of the movement. (further reading, websites) (Biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11583-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Nov. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2020


Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022


From the Ordinary People Change the World series

Blandly laudatory.

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. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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