Next book



A rare introduction to one of New York City’s more influential but lesser-known builders, and his “Grand” work.

A brief account of the iconic terminal’s birth and rebirth.

Hoyt builds her narrative around a profile of William J. Wilgus, the engineer who oversaw Grand Central’s completion, put it on sound financial footing by ingeniously proposing the sale of its “air rights,” and played a significant role in making New York’s railways generally safer. The result is a colorful tale of robber barons, competing architectural visions, and urban development on a truly grand scale. Along with glimpses of the building’s wonders both past (a movie theater, a ski slope, the original red carpet that was rolled out for passengers of the elegant Twentieth Century Limited train) and present, the author gives a nod to the eminently successful efforts led by Jackie Onassis to preserve and restore the renowned historical structure. Szalay’s graciously expansive illustrations are too sparsely populated to evoke a realistic picture of Grand Central’s customary crowds; the scattered human figures are racially diverse. And if the single cross-sectional view of the terminal’s underground is cramped and inadequate, the art overall does capture a good sense of both the massive scope of the construction and the finished building’s majesty, inside and out. Begging a ludicrous claim that the Hudson River is 40 miles away “across town,” closing facts and comments offer further enticements to prospective visitors.

A rare introduction to one of New York City’s more influential but lesser-known builders, and his “Grand” work. (timeline, source list) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 23, 2024

ISBN: 9780063064744

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

Next book


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

Next book


From the Ordinary People Change the World series

Quick and slick, but ably makes its case.

The distinguished jurist stands tall as a role model.

Not literally tall, of course—not only was she actually tiny but, as with all the other bobbleheaded caricatures in the “Ordinary People Change the World” series, Ginsburg, sporting huge eyeglasses on an outsize head over black judicial robes even in childhood, remains a doll-like figure in all of Eliopoulos’ cartoon scenes. It’s in the frank acknowledgment of the sexism and antisemitism she resolutely overcame as she went from reading about “real female heroes” to becoming one—and also the clear statement of how she so brilliantly applied the principle of “tikkun olam” (“repairing the world”) in her career to the notion that women and men should have the same legal rights—that her stature comes clear. For all the brevity of his profile, Meltzer spares some attention for her private life, too (“This is Marty. He loved me, and he loved my brains. So I married him!”). Other judicial activists of the past and present, all identified and including the current crop of female Supreme Court justices, line up with a diversely hued and abled group of younger followers to pay tribute in final scenes. “Fight for the things you care about,” as a typically savvy final quote has it, “but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”

Quick and slick, but ably makes its case. (timeline, photos, source list, further reading) (Picture-book biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2024

ISBN: 9780593533338

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Rocky Pond Books/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2023

Close Quickview