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A solid look at a history often untold.

Many consider World War I a European ordeal, but the young protagonist of this book keeps alive a memory of a deeper story.

At least 400,000 Muslims from India, among 2.5+ million Muslims total, were part of the Allied forces’ war effort as soldiers or laborers. The narrator’s great-grandpa was one of them. After a heartfelt goodbye to his family, he journeyed thousands of miles from India to Europe. So much was different from home, says the narrator, addressing their great-grandpa throughout. The child speaks of the halal meat he ate, how he served alongside other soldiers, many of whom looked different and spoke different languages, and how he kept on praying and fasting with his fellow Muslim soldiers. Throughout, the earth-toned illustrations show beige-uniformed, turbaned men sharing a meal, marching, and experiencing the terrible soundscape of war. The book offers an interesting, lesser-known narrative related to Muslim involvement in the Great War. However, some may feel that it misses an opportunity to engage with the topic of colonialism (given that India was under British rule until 1947) or that it romanticizes war somewhat. Overall, it will be accessible to readers less familiar with Islamic life and rituals as well as those with more background knowledge and who may appreciate some of the nuances in the storyline and illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A solid look at a history often untold. (glossary, list of facts, places to visit in the U.K.) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-86037-897-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kube Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 15, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2022

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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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Solid, if not revolutionary.

Albee and Ko take their shot at an early-reader biography about Alexander Hamilton.

Emergent readers (and their caregivers) familiar with Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hit musical Hamilton will be rewarded with what amounts to an illustrated highlights reel of the founding father’s life. Albee opens in medias res by describing Hamilton as “a soldier, a lawyer, and a financial wizard,” before the spare text quickly brings readers to Hamilton’s Caribbean childhood, noting his father’s abandonment, his mother’s death, and his determined rise from poverty. He’s presented as a trusted adviser to George Washington and rival to Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, with Ko’s accompanying digital art depicting him with a smiling man on horseback (Washington), while on the facing page, the two other men scowl. A later spread notes major differences between Jefferson and Hamilton, including acknowledgment that Jefferson enslaved people while “Hamilton was against slavery,” but Washington’s slave-owner status isn’t named, nor is the American Revolution’s impact on Indigenous peoples. Personal milestones, such as marriage to Eliza Schuyler, are noted alongside references to his involvement in the war and his work with the nascent American government. While his death occurs on the page, strategies to keep the text within the comprehension of its audience risk undermining other historical content by omitting such terms as “revolution” and the Federalist Papers (though they do appear in backmatter).

Solid, if not revolutionary. (Early reader/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-243291-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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