A lovely literary tribute that will inspire readers to want to know more.

JUST BEING JACKIE

One of America’s most elegant first ladies is introduced to a new generation of readers in this charming picture book.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis was many things: style icon, journalist, book editor, art lover, historian, and shrewd politician. Cardillo pays homage to all of the enigmatic first lady’s many facets by depicting her for young audiences as the Everygirl who happened to become a legend. The story opens with an image of Jackie not as a poised debutante but as a scrappy young equestrienne who is undaunted by the occasional spill from her horse. The courageous wind-swept girl with the dirt-smudged cheeks is eminently approachable, and as she matures into a beautiful woman, readers see that inner fortitude carry Jackie through the White House, unbelievable grief, and an inspiring journey of self-discovery. The author’s message is expertly aided by Denos’ stunning illustrations, which were created with pen, ink, pencil, and Photoshop and appear as if they came straight out of a sketchbook for Vogue. Whether Jackie is standing in front of the Eiffel Tower dazzled by the scenery or bowed in stately grief in her widow’s weeds, the story told in this book is that of a woman in love: with her husband, with the City of Light, with books, and with life. What an inspiring tale indeed.

A lovely literary tribute that will inspire readers to want to know more. (author’s note, illustrator’s note, timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-248502-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Feb. 13, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2018

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments.

SUPERHEROES ARE EVERYWHERE

The junior senator from California introduces family and friends as everyday superheroes.

The endpapers are covered with cascades of, mostly, early childhood snapshots (“This is me contemplating the future”—caregivers of toddlers will recognize that abstracted look). In between, Harris introduces heroes in her life who have shaped her character: her mom and dad, whose superpowers were, respectively, to make her feel special and brave; an older neighbor known for her kindness; grandparents in India and Jamaica who “[stood] up for what’s right” (albeit in unspecified ways); other relatives and a teacher who opened her awareness to a wider world; and finally iconic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley who “protected people by using the power of words and ideas” and whose examples inspired her to become a lawyer. “Heroes are…YOU!” she concludes, closing with a bulleted Hero Code and a timeline of her legal and political career that ends with her 2017 swearing-in as senator. In group scenes, some of the figures in the bright, simplistic digital illustrations have Asian features, some are in wheelchairs, nearly all are people of color. Almost all are smiling or grinning. Roe provides everyone identified as a role model with a cape and poses the author, who is seen at different ages wearing an identifying heart pin or decoration, next to each.

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984837-49-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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