AMAZING

ASIAN AMERICANS AND PACIFIC ISLANDERS WHO INSPIRE US ALL

A well-curated collection of Asian American and Pacific Islander heroes.

An illustrated compendium of extraordinary Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The book pairs stylized portraits of each of the individuals featured with short paragraphs about their lives. Ranging from relatively lesser-known historical figures like Wong Kim Ark, a Chinese immigrant to the United States whose fight for citizenship set a precedent for over 100 years of future immigration law, and moving on to modern celebrities like wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and actor, writer, and producer Mindy Kaling, the collection includes a variety of Asian American and Pacific Islanders who influenced American history, politics, music, sports, and popular culture. This variety is not just limited to career choices; the book also features disabled individuals like activist Alice Wong and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, biracial individuals like Johnson and Vice President Kamala Harris, and individuals from ethnic groups that are often overlooked in American history, including Bangladeshis, Thailanders, Filipinos, Marshall Islanders, and Native Hawaiians. (The text does not specify whether anyone featured identifies as queer or trans.) Throughout, the prose is clear, concise, and well crafted, incorporating details that will enthrall young readers. Since there is no introduction providing context, the jump right into descriptions feels slightly abrupt. Overall, though, the book is a thoughtful and comprehensive survey of the ways in which Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have shaped, and will continue to shape, the United States. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A well-curated collection of Asian American and Pacific Islander heroes. (Picture-book collective biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: April 18, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-52543-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Jan. 11, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2023

MORE THAN PEACH

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

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 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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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