The most optimal way to enjoy this book is reading along with the author’s PBS video—that synergy makes this small book sing.

READ REVIEW

BLACK GIRL MAGIC

A POEM

Wonder why this poet and these words seem so familiar? Readers may have caught her on PBS’ “Brief but Spectacular” video series reciting it with the velocity and verve it richly deserves.

This book feels like the keepsake one gives to all the black girls and women in one’s life who missed the clip. And, much like a lot of spoken-word poetry, it is better recited out loud than read silently on the page. Yet in this rich historical moment in which black women are loudly and proudly claiming more and diversified ownership of their works and the media itself, this is as much a document of that moment as it is an emerging, beloved tome for black girls of all ages to read and share in classrooms and conferences, over brunch, on a lazy Sunday in autumn, or whenever or wherever one needs an assuring word. The illustrator’s work adds a sweet—if not a little messy—handmade quality to the book, as if each copy has been crafted as a personal gift, complete with a monotone woodcut look to the depiction of one of the most intimate aspects of black womanhood, hair-braiding. Set in uppercase type that emulates hand-lettering, key words and phrases are picked out in red or ocher type, complementing the spare highlights in the black-on-cream palette.

The most optimal way to enjoy this book is reading along with the author’s PBS video—that synergy makes this small book sing. (Picture book. 6-adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-17372-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: Nov. 13, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2017

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Ephemeral—unlike the art here (some of it, at least) and those fondly remembered little books.

EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED FROM A LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK

Chicken soup for fans of Golden Books, from the line’s editorial director.

Reasoning that hard times have come to America (“The chickens have come home to roost, and their names are Debt, Depression, and Diabetes”), Muldrow offers this book as palliative. She gathers single illustrations from 61 Little Golden Books and adds pithy captions as anodynes, such as “Don’t panic…” (beneath Tibor Gergely’s 1948 image of a dismayed child holding detached braids) or “Have some pancakes” (Richard Scarry, 1949). Though some of her advice has a modern inflection (“Don’t forget your antioxidants!”), the pictures all come from titles published between 1942 and 1964 and so, despite the great diversity of artistic styles, have a quaint period look. Not to mention quaint period values, from views of apron-wearing housewives and pipe-smoking men (or bears) to, with but two exceptions, an all-white cast of humans. Furthermore, despite the title’s implication, the exhortations don’t always reflect the original story’s lesson or theme; rather than “Make a budget—and stick to it!” the lad in Miriam Young’s 5 Pennies To Spend (illustrated by Corinne Malvern, 1955) actually used his hoard to help others in need.

Ephemeral—unlike the art here (some of it, at least) and those fondly remembered little books. (Picture book. 12 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 24, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-307-97761-8

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Golden Books/Random

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2013

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This small but firm step on an artist’s journey is both inspiration to his fellows and an informative window into a...

THE INKER'S SHADOW

In this continuation of Say’s graphic memoir, Drawing from Memory (2011), he travels to the United States and receives a decidedly mixed welcome.

Arriving in southern California in 1953, 15-year-old Allen first settles in a military academy but is soon asked to leave because his sponsor comes to believe that he won’t be (as Say’s own openly hostile father puts it) “a wholesome American.” Never quite fitting in, he goes on to acquire an apartment and a job, take art classes, and, after high school graduation, set off in relief for San Francisco. “I will never,” he concludes emphatically, “come back.” Though his personal voice, his gratitude for the support he does receive, and occasional flashes of rueful humor are evident enough, overall his sense of isolation from people and events around him colors his entire experience. The many quick sketches, caricatures, practice pieces, and even the relatively finished scenes of significant incidents or encounters with which his account is interspersed, though, add life and feeling in abundance to the often spare narrative. Moreover, all along the way, his determination to become a cartoonist never fades, and at low moments Kyusuke, the free-spirited alter ego created for him back in Japan by his mentor and sensei, Noro Shinpei, pops into view to remind him that it’s all an adventure.

This small but firm step on an artist’s journey is both inspiration to his fellows and an informative window into a particular slice of the nation’s history. (afterword, with photos) (Graphic memoir. 10 & up)

Pub Date: Sept. 29, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-43776-9

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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