A book to be read and remembered: a tribute to children whose lives were lost to forces not of their own creation.

NIÑOS

POEMS FOR THE LOST CHILDREN OF CHILE

An homage to the children killed during the dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet.

On Sept. 11, 1973, the democratically elected government of Chile was overthrown by a violent military coup, supported by the CIA. A right-wing authoritarian military dictatorship ruled Chile for the next 17 years. Only when democracy returned to Chile did the world find out how many had died at the hands of the regime. Among that number were 34 children under the age of 14. Ferrada has written a tender poem for each one of these children—most with an uplifting nature theme—as a way of naming them and remembering them. The effect is to reclaim their childhoods: Luz is “a collector of sounds”; Gabriel “likes to imagine that the stars are holes in the sky.” Chillingly, their full names and ages are listed at the end along with the notation killed or, in one case, disappeared. Some were but a few months old; many were just preschoolers. Originally published in Spanish in 2013 for adults, the book is now being reissued for children accompanied by soft-edged artwork done in watercolors, graphite, pastels, charcoal, and colored pencils that lends an ethereal quality. The author points out the importance of telling this story, “knowing that at this moment, many children feel afraid, suffer tragedies, and even lose their lives because of political violence.”

A book to be read and remembered: a tribute to children whose lives were lost to forces not of their own creation. (Poetry. 8-adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5567-1

Page Count: 76

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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A substantive and affirming addition to any collection.

THE ABCS OF BLACK HISTORY

An impressive array of names, events, and concepts from Black history are introduced in this alphabet book for early-elementary readers.

From A for anthem (“a banner of song / that wraps us in hope, lets us know we belong”) to Z for zenith (“the top of that mountain King said we would reach”), this picture book is a journey through episodes, ideas, and personalities that represent a wide range of Black experiences. Some spreads celebrate readers themselves, like B for beautiful (“I’m talking to you!”); others celebrate accomplishments, such as E for explore (Matthew Henson, Mae Jemison), or experiences, like G for the Great Migration. The rhyming verses are light on the tongue, making the reading smooth and soothing. The brightly colored, folk art–style illustrations offer vibrant scenes of historical and contemporary Black life, with common people and famous people represented in turn. Whether reading straight through and poring over each page or flipping about to look at the refreshing scenes full of brown and black faces, readers will feel pride and admiration for the resilience and achievements of Black people and a call to participate in the “unfinished…American tale.” Endnotes clarify terms and figures, and a resource list includes child-friendly books, websites, museums, and poems.

A substantive and affirming addition to any collection. (Informational picture book. 6-11)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5235-0749-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

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An incredible connector text for young readers eager to graduate to weighty conversations about our yesterday, our now, and...

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THE UNDEFEATED

Past and present are quilted together in this innovative overview of black Americans’ triumphs and challenges in the United States.

Alexander’s poetry possesses a straightforward, sophisticated, steady rhythm that, paired with Nelson’s detail-oriented oil paintings, carries readers through generations chronicling “the unforgettable,” “the undeniable,” “the unflappable,” and “the righteous marching ones,” alongside “the unspeakable” events that shape the history of black Americans. The illustrator layers images of black creators, martyrs, athletes, and neighbors onto blank white pages, patterns pages with the bodies of slaves stolen and traded, and extends a memorial to victims of police brutality like Sandra Bland and Michael Brown past the very edges of a double-page spread. Each movement of Alexander’s poem is a tribute to the ingenuity and resilience of black people in the U.S., with textual references to the writings of Gwendolyn Brooks, Martin Luther King Jr., Langston Hughes, and Malcolm X dotting stanzas in explicit recognition and grateful admiration. The book ends with a glossary of the figures acknowledged in the book and an afterword by the author that imprints the refrain “Black. Lives. Matter” into the collective soul of readers, encouraging them, like the cranes present throughout the book, to “keep rising.”

An incredible connector text for young readers eager to graduate to weighty conversations about our yesterday, our now, and our tomorrow. (Picture book/poetry. 6-12)

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-78096-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Versify/HMH

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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