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NO VOICE TOO SMALL

FOURTEEN YOUNG AMERICANS MAKING HISTORY

Never too soon to start stirring things up: “We may be small / but / we / can / ROAR!”

Tributes in prose and poetry to children and teens of today who have spoken out to support a cause or protest injustice.

Budding activists in search of child role models beyond the high-profile likes of Malala Yousafzai and Greta Thunberg may well draw inspiration from this less-intimidating—but no less brave and worthy—lineup. For each, a poem by one of 14 poets and a laudatory paragraph flank an engaging, soft-focus portrait by Bradley that digitally emulates chalk and pastels on a textured brown background. “Each activist,” write the editors, “inspired a poet who relates to an aspect of the activist’s identity.” New Yorker Charles Waters, for instance, gives a shoutout to 6-year-old Samirah “DJ Annie Red” Horton, “proudly / representing the People’s Republic of Brooklyn” with her anti-bullying rap; Zach Wahls, founder of Scouts for Equality, poses with his two moms next to a triolet from Lesléa Newman. Other contributors, including Carole Boston Weatherford, Janet Wong, and Joseph Bruchac, honor young people making good trouble in areas of contention as varied as climate change, gender identity, immigration law, safe drinking water, and gun violence. The contributors are as diverse of identity as their young subjects, and as a sidelight, the poems are cast in a variety of identified forms from free verse to reverso, cinquain, and tanka.

Never too soon to start stirring things up: “We may be small / but / we / can / ROAR!” (contributor bios, notes on poetic forms) (Informational picture book/poetry. 6-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62354-131-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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BASKETBALL DREAMS

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

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IF YOU LIVED DURING THE PLIMOTH THANKSGIVING

Essential.

A measured corrective to pervasive myths about what is often referred to as the “first Thanksgiving.”

Contextualizing them within a Native perspective, Newell (Passamaquoddy) touches on the all-too-familiar elements of the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving and its origins and the history of English colonization in the territory now known as New England. In addition to the voyage and landfall of the Mayflower, readers learn about the Doctrine of Discovery that arrogated the lands of non-Christian peoples to European settlers; earlier encounters between the Indigenous peoples of the region and Europeans; and the Great Dying of 1616-1619, which emptied the village of Patuxet by 1620. Short, two- to six-page chapters alternate between the story of the English settlers and exploring the complex political makeup of the region and the culture, agriculture, and technology of the Wampanoag—all before covering the evolution of the holiday. Refreshingly, the lens Newell offers is a Native one, describing how the Wampanoag and other Native peoples received the English rather than the other way around. Key words ranging from estuary to discover are printed in boldface in the narrative and defined in a closing glossary. Nelson (a member of the Leech Lake Band of Minnesota Chippewa) contributes soft line-and-color illustrations of the proceedings. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Essential. (Nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-72637-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Scholastic Nonfiction

Review Posted Online: Oct. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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