Fifty historical people of achievement from Cleopatra to Ernö Rubik receive newly minted awards.
Trotting past in no particular order (but taking a chronological “Lap” at the end), the honorees begin with Albert Einstein (“The Curiosity Award”) and Wangari Maathai (“The Stand up for What You Believe in Award”), finish off with Malala Yousafzai (“The One Voice Award”), and in between make up a diverse company of athletes, artists, scientists, activists, and other worthies. Most are European or American, but the sexes are evenly represented, and unusual additions to the typical gallery of role models include David Bowie (“The Express Yourself Award”), Ellen DeGeneres (“The Love Is Love Award”), and Paralympian Trischa Zorn (“The Amazing Athlete Award”). Albero creates for each both a formal portrait with a ribbon affixed to the top and three or four significant scenes from the winner’s life, all rendered in the same stylized, neatly drawn way depicting figures sporting oversized heads with simplified but recognizable features. Murray doesn’t always get her facts straight: e=mc2 doesn’t “prove” anything about mass and energy, nor did the Emancipation Proclamation free “all slaves in the southern states” or Louis Pasteur coin the term “vaccine.” Still, her warm commentaries offer both digestible doses of biographical detail and credible rationales for declaring that each award was well and truly merited.
Longer on enthusiasm than strict accuracy, but a blue-ribbon set of admirables. (Collective biography. 9-12)