BETWEEN TWO WORLDS

THE ART & LIFE OF AMRITA SHER-GIL

From the Amazing Women series , Vol. 3

A lyrical picture-book introduction to the life of a feminist artistic genius.

Born to a Hungarian mother and an Indian father, Amrita Sher-Gil spent her early childhood in her mother’s homeland, creating fanciful art inspired by the world around her.

When she was 8, the family moved to India, where her art matured considerably. Noticing her talent, her family insisted that she take formal lessons to hone her craft. At first, Amrita obliged, but soon she chafed against the restrictions and the structure, preferring to rely instead on her own instincts and imagination. Following her own path, Amrita created art that blended Eastern and Western traditions and that celebrated womanhood. Eventually, her family returned to Europe specifically so Amrita could study art in Paris. Although she learned a great deal, after a few years, Amrita found Europe stifling, and she returned to India. There, her practice blossomed as she pioneered new visual traditions, pushing the boundaries of the Western-centric artistic world. Unfortunately, her genius was cut short by her untimely death at the age of 28. This lyrical picture-book biography not only celebrates Sher-Gil’s rebellious brilliance, it also frankly examines the challenges and opportunities presented by having a mixed heritage. While much of Sher-Gil’s life and work involved highly adult themes, this book addresses these issues in a child-friendly manner without hiding the truth. The innovative illustrations include more than a few touches of surrealism to evoke the inner life of the artist and present at least one topless female figure, reflecting Sher-Gil’s style.

A lyrical picture-book introduction to the life of a feminist artistic genius. (biographical note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 7-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 21, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-7342259-4-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Penny Candy

Review Posted Online: Sept. 28, 2021

JUST LIKE JESSE OWENS

A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal.

Before growing up to become a major figure in the civil rights movement, a boy finds a role model.

Buffing up a childhood tale told by her renowned father, Young Shelton describes how young Andrew saw scary men marching in his New Orleans neighborhood (“It sounded like they were yelling ‘Hi, Hitler!’ ”). In response to his questions, his father took him to see a newsreel of Jesse Owens (“a runner who looked like me”) triumphing in the 1936 Olympics. “Racism is a sickness,” his father tells him. “We’ve got to help folks like that.” How? “Well, you can start by just being the best person you can be,” his father replies. “It’s what you do that counts.” In James’ hazy chalk pastels, Andrew joins racially diverse playmates (including a White child with an Irish accent proudly displaying the nickel he got from his aunt as a bribe to stop playing with “those Colored boys”) in tag and other games, playing catch with his dad, sitting in the midst of a cheering crowd in the local theater’s segregated balcony, and finally visualizing himself pelting down a track alongside his new hero—“head up, back straight, eyes focused,” as a thematically repeated line has it, on the finish line. An afterword by Young Shelton explains that she retold this story, told to her many times growing up, drawing from conversations with Young and from her own research; family photos are also included. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal. (illustrator’s note) (Autobiographical picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-545-55465-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 26, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

THE ASTRONAUT'S GUIDE TO LEAVING THE PLANET

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW, FROM TRAINING TO RE-ENTRY

Finally, an astro-memoir for kids that really gets down to the nitty-gritty.

A former space shuttle pilot and International Space Station commander recalls in unusually exacting detail what it’s like to be an astronaut.

In the same vein as his more expansive adult title How To Astronaut (2020), Virts describes and reflects on his experiences with frank and photographic precision—from riding the infamous “Vomit Comet” to what astronauts wear, eat, and get paid. He also writes vividly about what Earth looks like from near orbit: the different colors of deserts, for instance, and storms that “are so powerful that the flashes from the lightning illuminate the inside of the space station.” With an eye to younger audiences with stars in their eyes, he describes space programs of the past and near future in clear, simple language and embeds pep talks about the importance of getting a good education and ignoring nay-sayers. For readers eager to start their training early, he also tucks in the occasional preparatory “Astronaut Activity,” such as taking some (unused) household item apart…and then putting it back together. Lozano supplements the small color photos of our planet from space and astronauts at work with helpful labeled images, including two types of spacesuits and a space shuttle, as well as cartoon spot art depicting diverse figures.

Finally, an astro-memoir for kids that really gets down to the nitty-gritty. (glossary, index) (Nonfiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 11, 2023

ISBN: 9781523514564

Page Count: 176

Publisher: Workman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2023

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