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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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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