Inspirational but occasionally unclear.


Gooding's debut profiles 40 famous people with disabilities.

The author, a mother of children with disabilities, opens the book with a note about her desire to find role models for her children. To that end, she alphabetically introduces racially diverse disabled people from around the world and throughout history. Diagnoses range from autism to limb difference. Historical figures include Japanese peace advocate Sadako Sasaki, who developed leukemia after the bombing of Hiroshima, and American abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who led fellow slaves to freedom despite epilepsy. Contemporary figures include athletes, authors, and entertainers: Polio survivor and Paralympian Malathi Krishnamurthy-Holla remains "one of the fastest female Indian athletes in a wheelchair"; Japanese nonverbal author Naoki Higashida penned popular books describing autism; English actor Daniel Radcliffe deals with dyspraxia, a coordination disorder; and Australian Madeline Stuart is the first professional model with Down syndrome. Each profile begins with an uplifting quote and concludes with a sidebar explaining the subject’s disability. Unfortunately, some sidebars emphasize colloquial over scientific terms. For instance, Stephen Hawking’s disability is named eponymously (Lou Gehrig's disease), “also known as ALS,” instead of with its scientific name, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Occasionally, vague phrasing creates confusion, such as when the author writes that a speech-generating device enabled Hawking to communicate by using a “touchpad.” (A hand clicker became his primary input method.) Various illustrators’ realistic renditions of smiling subjects complement the upbeat (albeit somewhat dry) text.

Inspirational but occasionally unclear. (glossary, quote sources) (Collective biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-78741-848-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Bonnier/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

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An interesting portrait of an American mover and shaker refreshingly presented in graphic novel format.


From the It's Her Story series

“Fighting Shirley” was no ordinary politician.

The story opens in Barbados, where Shirley Chisolm spent a relatively carefree early childhood with her sister, Muriel, on their grandparents’ farm. Upon being sent to live with her parents in Brooklyn, Shirley had to adjust to much stricter household rules. She excelled academically throughout her school years, and after graduating from Brooklyn College, began her teaching career in early childhood education. As an administrator of child care centers, Chisolm devoted herself to child welfare and community affairs. Her work put her in touch with the needs of working people and their families, and she labored ceaselessly to get candidates elected who would make meaningful changes. Eventually, she decided to run for office herself and became the second Black woman elected to the New York Assembly and, after that, the country’s first Black congresswoman. Aggs relates how Chisholm dedicated her efforts to improving the lives of her constituents, often finding herself at loggerheads with colleagues. Chisholm’s boldness and desire for change led her to seek the Democratic Party nomination for president of the United States. Although she was unsuccessful, her groundbreaking campaign was a momentous sociopolitical event. This lively, optimistic biography is an accessible introduction to Chisholm’s life for younger readers, highlighting her determination to stay true to herself and her ideals. The illustrations aren’t particularly original, but the colorful panels effectively propel the narrative.

An interesting portrait of an American mover and shaker refreshingly presented in graphic novel format. (Graphic biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5037-6241-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Sunbird Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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A story of bitter cold infused with warmth and with the fighting spirit of its courageous subject.



The tale of an indomitable sailor who survived challenge after challenge—including the wreck of Ernest Shackleton’s Endurance.

Irish-born sailor Tom Crean’s (1877-1938) life changed forever when he agreed to join a voyage destined for Antarctica. Signing on to the Discovery, Crean was involved in early exploration of the continent and ultimately made three treks to the Antarctic—the last of which extended more than two years and involved a death-defying journey back to civilization after the loss of the famous Endurance. Each journey was fraught with dangers, from starvation and malnutrition to frostbite and hypothermia. But still, Crean returned. Though the story does not shy away from the tragedies and horrors of exploration, noting the loss of both human and animal companions on each journey, Thermes’ narration is age-appropriate. Readers fascinated by the sea or by our least-populated continent will find this biography gripping, and educators and caregivers will appreciate the robust backmatter, which includes an afterword, a timeline, and a list of select sources that encourage further study. Relying on panels, as in a graphic novel, the illustrations, rendered in colored pencil and watercolor, capture the warmth of the ships and the cold expanses of the glaciers and ice. Thermes makes excellent use of the pages’ white spaces to capture the beauty and the loneliness of Antarctica, further pulling readers into Crean’s journey. Crean and his crewmates present White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A story of bitter cold infused with warmth and with the fighting spirit of its courageous subject. (facts about Antarctica) (Biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 24, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-11772-9

Page Count: 56

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2022

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