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LUBA: THE ANGEL OF BERGEN-BELSEN

McCann conveys the remarkable heroism of Tryszynska-Frederick, a young Jewish nurse imprisoned in the Nazi concentration camp. Luba’s emotional strength, bravery, and determination in the winter of 1944 saved 54 abandoned, starving, and cold Dutch children from their impending death, as she hid them in her barracks for the duration of the war and used her ingenuity and a lot of luck to beg, borrow, and steal food. McCann recounts in lucid narrative prose, with the inclusion of some dialogue, the events and hushed drama as related to her by the real Luba. Well-crafted, this includes a brief introduction and post-script to the Nazi concentration camps and WWII, an epilogue depicting Luba’s official Amsterdam recognition with photographs from the liberation of the camp and a 1995 reunion, and a thorough bibliography of books, articles, film, Web sites, personal letters, and interviews. Realistic oil paintings with collage reflect the darkness of the period and the terrifyingly dangerous environment amid the loving concern within the concealed group. One of the beautiful, positive stories that emerged from that awful time, to be remembered and passed on to young and old alike. (author’s note, including children’s names) (Picture book. 7-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2003

ISBN: 1-58246-098-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003

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THE AMAZING AGE OF JOHN ROY LYNCH

A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering.

An honestly told biography of an important politician whose name every American should know.

Published while the United States has its first African-American president, this story of John Roy Lynch, the first African-American speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, lays bare the long and arduous path black Americans have walked to obtain equality. The title’s first three words—“The Amazing Age”—emphasize how many more freedoms African-Americans had during Reconstruction than for decades afterward. Barton and Tate do not shy away from honest depictions of slavery, floggings, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, or the various means of intimidation that whites employed to prevent blacks from voting and living lives equal to those of whites. Like President Barack Obama, Lynch was of biracial descent; born to an enslaved mother and an Irish father, he did not know hard labor until his slave mistress asked him a question that he answered honestly. Freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, Lynch had a long and varied career that points to his resilience and perseverance. Tate’s bright watercolor illustrations often belie the harshness of what takes place within them; though this sometimes creates a visual conflict, it may also make the book more palatable for young readers unaware of the violence African-Americans have suffered than fully graphic images would. A historical note, timeline, author’s and illustrator’s notes, bibliography and map are appended.

A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering. (Picture book biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5379-0

Page Count: 50

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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TWENTY-ONE ELEPHANTS AND STILL STANDING

Strong rhythms and occasional full or partial rhymes give this account of P.T. Barnum’s 1884 elephant parade across the newly opened Brooklyn Bridge an incantatory tone. Catching a whiff of public concern about the new bridge’s sturdiness, Barnum seizes the moment: “’I will stage an event / that will calm every fear, erase every worry, / about that remarkable bridge. / My display will amuse, inform / and astound some. / Or else my name isn’t Barnum!’” Using a rich palette of glowing golds and browns, Roca imbues the pachyderms with a calm solidity, sending them ambling past equally solid-looking buildings and over a truly monumental bridge—which soars over a striped Big Top tent in the final scene. A stately rendition of the episode, less exuberant, but also less fictionalized, than Phil Bildner’s Twenty-One Elephants (2004), illustrated by LeUyen Pham. (author’s note, resource list) (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 26, 2005

ISBN: 0-618-44887-X

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2005

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