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

ELIZA

THE STORY OF ELIZABETH SCHUYLER HAMILTON

“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 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era.

I AM RUBY BRIDGES

The New Orleans school child who famously broke the color line in 1960 while surrounded by federal marshals describes the early days of her experience from a 6-year-old’s perspective.

Bridges told her tale to younger children in 2009’s Ruby Bridges Goes to School, but here the sensibility is more personal, and the sometimes-shocking historical photos have been replaced by uplifting painted scenes. “I didn’t find out what being ‘the first’ really meant until the day I arrived at this new school,” she writes. Unfrightened by the crowd of “screaming white people” that greets her at the school’s door (she thinks it’s like Mardi Gras) but surprised to find herself the only child in her classroom, and even the entire building, she gradually realizes the significance of her act as (in Smith’s illustration) she compares a small personal photo to the all-White class photos posted on a bulletin board and sees the difference. As she reflects on her new understanding, symbolic scenes first depict other dark-skinned children marching into classes in her wake to friendly greetings from lighter-skinned classmates (“School is just school,” she sensibly concludes, “and kids are just kids”) and finally an image of the bright-eyed icon posed next to a soaring bridge of reconciliation. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era. (author and illustrator notes, glossary) (Autobiographical picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-75388-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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

MORE THAN PEACH

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 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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