DOOR BY DOOR

HOW SARAH MCBRIDE BECAME AMERICA'S FIRST OPENLY TRANSGENDER SENATOR

A heartfelt biography that will encourage readers to live their truths.

Pincus chronicles Delaware state Sen. Sarah McBride’s childhood and coming out.

McBride always knew that she wanted to be a politician, but it took time to learn that she could do that and be herself—a transgender woman. Following her through her childhood and college years, when she came out, the book emphasizes her commitment to helping others. It narratively connects her to her political role models, Barack Obama and Joe Biden. Informative and absorbing, this is an enjoyable and uplifting read, though it lacks a strong unifying structure. Most of the narrative is devoted to McBride’s coming out; her 2020 election win is covered quickly at the end and does not feel like a strong payoff. Doors are a theme throughout: Telling others that she is transgender initially feels like something best left behind a closed door, and later, McBride works to open “the doors of opportunity” for others. It’s a meaningful metaphor, though one that might go over younger readers’ heads. However, Pincus tells McBride’s story effectively and explains trans identity in an understandable and empathetic way, enhanced by pleasant, straightforward illustrations. She describes McBride’s childhood without ever using the wrong pronouns or her birth name. McBride is White; other characters are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A heartfelt biography that will encourage readers to live their truths. (author’s note, note from McBride, guide to being a trans ally, glossary, bibliography) (Picture-book biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 9, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-48465-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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

BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET

A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston...

A memorable, lyrical reverse-chronological walk through the life of an American icon.

In free verse, Cline-Ransome narrates the life of Harriet Tubman, starting and ending with a train ride Tubman takes as an old woman. “But before wrinkles formed / and her eyes failed,” Tubman could walk tirelessly under a starlit sky. Cline-Ransome then describes the array of roles Tubman played throughout her life, including suffragist, abolitionist, Union spy, and conductor on the Underground Railroad. By framing the story around a literal train ride, the Ransomes juxtapose the privilege of traveling by rail against Harriet’s earlier modes of travel, when she repeatedly ran for her life. Racism still abounds, however, for she rides in a segregated train. While the text introduces readers to the details of Tubman’s life, Ransome’s use of watercolor—such a striking departure from his oil illustrations in many of his other picture books—reveals Tubman’s humanity, determination, drive, and hope. Ransome’s lavishly detailed and expansive double-page spreads situate young readers in each time and place as the text takes them further into the past.

A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston Weatherford and Kadir Nelson’s Moses (2006). (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2047-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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