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ELIZA

THE STORY OF ELIZABETH SCHUYLER HAMILTON

Well-researched and intricately illustrated, this portrait provides an accessible jumping-off point for those interested in...

“My story began on a hot August day in 1757.”

An imagined letter tells the story of Eliza Hamilton so that her unborn great-granddaughter will know about her life, accomplishments, and beliefs as a patriot, socialite, philanthropist, child advocate, de facto archivist, dedicated wife, and loving matriarch. Paintings reminiscent of 18th-century American art show Eliza’s journey from her privileged childhood with slaveholding parents in upstate New York to her rebellious marriage to Founding Father Alexander Hamilton and their life together and on to her work founding and fundraising for New York’s first orphanage and her impressions of the many presidents she knew. The realities of slavery are addressed briefly, and Eliza’s role in introducing Hamilton to benefactors and politicians is mentioned. While some of the history presented seems unnecessarily fragmentary given that this is not an original letter—no background for the Hamilton/Burr duel is presented within the text, for example—the endnotes are particularly detailed, and overall, the focus stays on Eliza rather than her famous spouse, presenting a determined, resilient, and individualistic white woman of her time, witness to many years of early American history. An afterword by Phillipa Soo, who played Eliza in Hamilton: An American Musical, is appended.

Well-researched and intricately illustrated, this portrait provides an accessible jumping-off point for those interested in the Broadway musical and captures an extensive historical period from a specific and interesting perspective. (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6588-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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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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CAN YOU HEAR THE PLANTS SPEAK?

Heartfelt reflections on the importance of kinship with nature.

An Indigenous gardener matures—and vows to protect the environment.

The young narrator spends summer days with loving great-grandparents who impart important lessons: “These trees are our ancestors” and “We thank them with a song, a blessing, and a few drops of water.” From mountains to rivers, every part of nature is alive, and the child learns to listen to the plants, who offer food, promise to quench the little one’s thirst, and provide smoke to “lift your prayers to heaven.” As the youngster grows, so does the surrounding cityscape, silencing the animals and plants. The now-adult protagonist wanders, alone and lost—before coming across a tiny plant sprouting from the gray concrete. Inspired, the narrator decides, “From one, I would grow many.” Trees and flowers fill the pages. Later scenes show the protagonist with a young son, who also learns to listen to the wisdom of the plants. Hummingbird—a descendant from the Cahuilla nation of Southern California’s Inland Empire and the Apache nation of New Mexico—and Wasson matter-of-factly emphasize the importance of respect for the environment. Goodnight’s (Chickasaw Nation) realistic art complements this tender story. Soft, natural colors add warmth, while leaves and acorns adorn the endpapers, underscoring the themes of growth, compassion, and strength. In the backmatter, the authors note that plants, like animals, can go extinct; they leave readers with suggestions for growing native plants in their own homes and backyards.

Heartfelt reflections on the importance of kinship with nature. (resources) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 16, 2024

ISBN: 9780063221284

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2024

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