YOUNG PELÉ

SOCCER’S FIRST STAR

While eight-year-old Edson do Nascimento’s classmates are learning the alphabet and math, he is dreaming about playing soccer. Edson is small for his age, but he’s determined and obsessed. He and his neighborhood friends form a team they name “September 7” after Brazil’s day of independence. They work hard and earn money for uniforms, but there’s not enough for shoes. The father of three of the boys volunteers to be their coach and gets some used shoes donated. Pelé’s father, a former soccer player, also helps his son train. Edson, now Pelé, and his team improve and go on to win their game in the youth soccer tournament. An inspiring and indomitable subject and beautiful oils depicting Brazil’s diverse population help overcome a rather flat narrative that tells the story of one very poor kid who made good. Missteps along the way—he gets his nickname early on, but it isn’t given meaning until the author’s note; suddenly, after several mentions of the ball made of rags, there’s a real ball, but no explanation; there are no resources or further reading offered; imagined conversations—mar a story that will still have appeal to young soccer fans. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-375-83599-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2007

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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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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