An ongoing success story for all readers and especially Ailey’s worldwide legion of fans.

MY STORY, MY DANCE

ROBERT BATTLE'S JOURNEY TO ALVIN AILEY

Only the third person to direct the esteemed and much-loved American dance company, Battle represents a strong line that celebrates African-American music, faith, and dance.

Much as the spirituality and power of the African-American church infused Alvin Ailey’s signature work, Revelations, with beauty, sorrow, humor, and pride, so attendance at a performance of that dance work inspired a young African-American boy from Miami to pursue a career in modern dance. Cline-Ransome recounts Robert Battle’s childhood struggles and his loving, supportive family in a warmly written narrative. She follows his meteoric career to New York City, studying at Juilliard, dancing and choreographing for modern companies, and finally following Alvin Ailey and Judith Jamison to become director of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Her collaborator (and husband) uses pastels in full-page bleeds to depict both family scenes and practice sessions in studios. A double-page spread showcases the joyous and often encored last movement of Revelations, while panels and pages of colorfully outlined sketches evoke the precision and drama of dance movement. An especially beautifully conceived image is on the cover, capturing Battle in a moment of intensely emotional concentration.

An ongoing success story for all readers and especially Ailey’s worldwide legion of fans. (foreword by Battle, author’s note, illustrator’s note, bibliography, further reading, photographs) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4814-2221-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

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A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape.

RAFI AND ROSI MUSIC!

From the Rafi and Rosi series

The fourth installment in Delacre’s early-reader series centers on the rich musical traditions of Puerto Rico, once again featuring sibling tree frogs Rafi and Rosi Coquí.

Readers learn along with Rafi and Rosi as they explore bomba, plena, and salsa in three chapters. A glossary at the beginning sets readers up well to understand the Spanish vocabulary, including accurate phoneticization for non-Spanish speakers. The stories focus on Rafi and Rosi’s relationship within a musical context. For example, in one chapter Rafi finds out that he attracts a larger audience playing his homemade güiro with Rosi’s help even though he initially excluded her: “Big brothers only.” Even when he makes mistakes, as the older brother, Rafi consoles Rosi when she is embarrassed or angry at him. In each instance, their shared joy for music and dance ultimately shines through any upsets—a valuable reflection of unity. Informational backmatter and author’s sources are extensive. Undoubtedly these will help teachers, librarians, and parents to develop Puerto Rican cultural programs, curriculum, or home activities to extend young readers’ learning. The inclusion of instructions to make one’s own homemade güiro is a thoughtful addition. The Spanish translation, also by Delacre and published simultaneously, will require a more advanced reader than the English one to recognize and comprehend contractions (“pa’bajo-pa-pa’rriba”) and relatively sophisticated vocabulary.

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape. (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-89239-429-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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26 FAIRMOUNT AVENUE

            The legions of fans who over the years have enjoyed dePaola’s autobiographical picture books will welcome this longer gathering of reminiscences.  Writing in an authentically childlike voice, he describes watching the new house his father was building go up despite a succession of disasters, from a brush fire to the hurricane of 1938.  Meanwhile, he also introduces family, friends, and neighbors, adds Nana Fall River to his already well-known Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs, remembers his first day of school (“ ‘ When do we learn to read?’  I asked.  ‘Oh, we don’t learn how to read in kindergarten.  We learn to read next year, in first grade.’  ‘Fine,’ I said.  ‘I’ll be back next year.’  And I walked right out of school.”), recalls holidays, and explains his indignation when the plot of Disney’s “Snow White” doesn’t match the story he knows.  Generously illustrated with vignettes and larger scenes, this cheery, well-knit narrative proves that an old dog can learn new tricks, and learn them surpassingly well.  (Autobiography.  7-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 1999

ISBN: 0-399-23246-X

Page Count: 58

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1999

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