SUMMER BIRDS

THE BUTTERFLIES OF MARIA MERIAN

It’s not often that someone is born both a great scientist and a great artist, especially if that someone is a girl in the middle of the 17th century. But Maria Sibylla Merian was. In a time when people thought that butterflies (then called “summer birds”) came from the soil magically, Maria studied these creatures in secret, lest she be accused of witchcraft. Engle and Paschkis tell Merian’s story with emotion and passion, capturing the spare voice of the 13-year-old narrator. They capture the patient precision that Maria must have used to collect her specimens, watching them in secret and then waiting for metamorphosis. All this meticulous observation led young Maria to document her discoveries through precise watercolors. The illustrator’s rich, gouache folk-style paintings, sometimes on a solid black background, share that joy in the natural world and with gentle fancy bring this little-known artist and entomologist to life. Young scientists, particularly girls, will be inspired to collect, observe and record their favorite critters. They, too, will imagine themselves growing up to follow their dreams. (historical note) (Picture book/biography. 4-9)

Pub Date: April 27, 2010

ISBN: 978-0-8050-8937-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 30, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2010

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared.

IMAGINE

Former Poet Laureate Herrera encourages his young readers to imagine all they might be in his new picture book.

Herrera’s free verse tells his own story, starting as a young boy who loves the plants and animals he finds outdoors in the California fields and is then thrust into the barren, concrete city. In the city he begins to learn to read and write, learning English and discovering a love for words and the way ink flows “like tiny rivers” across the page as he applies pen to paper. Words soon become sentences, poems, lyrics, and a means of escape. This love of the word ultimately leads him to make writing his vocation and to become the first Chicano Poet Laureate of the United States, an honor Herrera received in 2015. Through this story of hardship to success, expressed in a series of conditional statements that all begin “If I,” Herrera implores his readers to “imagine what you could do.” Castillo’s ink and foam monoprint illustrations are a tender accompaniment to Herrera’s verse, the black lines of her illustrations flowing across the page in rhythm with the author’s poetry. Together this makes for a charming read-aloud for groups or a child snuggled in a lap.

A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared. (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9052-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more