This engaging and affectionate re-creation of Lewis’ life highlights resilience, creativity, and inspiration.

THROUGH THE WARDROBE

HOW C.S. LEWIS CREATED NARNIA

The story of C.S. Lewis and how Narnia came to be.

From a young age, books and imagination were enormously important to young Clive Staples Lewis—or Jack, as he preferred to be called—and here, the warm, folkloric text and colorful, detailed ink-and-acrylic pictures invite readers and listeners to consider how, through dark moments, he created his own stories as a bright refuge. Lewis had a close relationship with his brother, developed a love of religion, and found happiness with an American wife, but he also withstood the early death of his mother, isolation and bullying in boarding school, and the horrors of World War I in part through his creativity and storytelling. As befitting the creator of the beloved Narnia books, this illustrated biography maintains the sense of a story unfolding, leading up to the moments when the iconic stories came to be while simultaneously explaining Lewis’ background, experiences, and some of his likely inspirations. Though Lewis dealt with much difficulty, the emphasis is on how he coped and, throughout his life, read, imagined, dreamed, pondered, and created. The endnotes provide a plethora of facts and additional information, nicely organized for potential research; these will likely elicit additional questions about his life and may lead readers to explore further.

This engaging and affectionate re-creation of Lewis’ life highlights resilience, creativity, and inspiration. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-279856-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2020

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An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom.

MORE THAN PEACH

A Black girl’s simple observation propels her into activism.

Woodard, who launched the More Than Peach Project—which arranges for classrooms and children in need to receive kits that include art supplies and boxes of multicultural crayons (crayons in a variety of skin tones)—relates the incident that sparked her journey. As the book begins, she is dropped off at school and notices that her family’s skin tone differs from that of her classmates. While it is clear that she is one of a few children of color at school, that difference isn’t really felt until her friends start asking for the “skin-color” crayon when they mean peach. She’s bothered that no one else seems to notice that skin comes in many colors, so she devises a unique way of bringing everyone’s attention to that fact. With support from her family and her school, she encourages her fellow classmates to rethink their language and starts an initiative to ensure that everyone’s skin tone is represented in each crayon box. Appealing, realistic artwork depicts Woodard’s experiences, while endpapers feature More Than Peach crayon boxes and childlike illustrations of kids of different ethnicities doing various activities. The story is stirring and will motivate budding activists. (This book was reviewed digitally; the review has been updated for factual accuracy.)

An inspirational look at one girl’s quest to make sure that all skin tones are visible and available in the classroom. (note from Woodard, information on Woodard’s journey into activism, instructions on starting a drive) (Picture-book biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: July 26, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-80927-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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Blandly laudatory.

I AM WALT DISNEY

From the Ordinary People Change the World series

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. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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