OUR CHILDREN CAN SOAR

A CELEBRATION OF ROSA, BARACK, AND THE PIONEERS OF CHANGE

Taking its inspiration from the saying that emerged during the 2008 presidential campaign—“Rosa sat so Martin could march. Martin marched so Barack could run. Barack ran so our children can soar!”—this book takes readers step by step through American history from freed slaves in the Civil War to the future, touching on Hattie McDaniel, Ruby Bridges, Thurgood Marshall and other African-American “Pioneers of Change” along the way. Each page turn is devoted to one Great, illustrated by one of 12 noted African-American illustrators (and Diane Dillon). The patterned text provides unity and continuity, while the varying artistic styles keep the visual energy high. As with any effort of this ilk, the pressure of a compressed production schedule can be seen in some oversimplified compositions and rushed lines, but at its best, it soars too. The Dillons’ study of George Washington Carver is a miracle of botanical intensity; AG Ford’s Jesse Owens sprints off the page. Thumbnail biographies of each figure appear at the end, along with brief statements from each illustrator. All in all, a lovely and suitably moving commemoration. (Picture book. 5 & up)

Pub Date: April 14, 2009

ISBN: 978-1-59990-418-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2009

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LAST DAY BLUES

From the Mrs. Hartwell's Classroom Adventures series

One more myth dispelled for all the students who believe that their teachers live in their classrooms. During the last week of school, Mrs. Hartwell and her students reflect on the things they will miss, while also looking forward to the fun that summer will bring. The kids want to cheer up their teacher, whom they imagine will be crying over lesson plans and missing them all summer long. But what gift will cheer her up? Numerous ideas are rejected, until Eddie comes up with the perfect plan. They all cooperate to create a rhyming ode to the school year and their teacher. Love’s renderings of the children are realistic, portraying the diversity of modern-day classrooms, from dress and expression to gender and skin color. She perfectly captures the emotional trauma the students imagine their teachers will go through as they leave for the summer. Her final illustration hysterically shatters that myth, and will have every teacher cheering aloud. What a perfect end to the school year. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2006

ISBN: 1-58089-046-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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NIM'S ISLAND

A child finds that being alone in a tiny tropical paradise has its ups and downs in this appealingly offbeat tale from the Australian author of Peeling the Onion (1999). Though her mother is long dead and her scientist father Jack has just sailed off on a quick expedition to gather plankton, Nim is anything but lonely on her small island home. Not only does she have constant companions in Selkie, a sea lion, and a marine iguana named Fred, but Chica, a green turtle, has just arrived for an annual egg-laying—and, through the solar-powered laptop, she has even made a new e-mail friend in famed adventure novelist Alex Rover. Then a string of mishaps darkens Nim’s sunny skies: her father loses rudder and dish antenna in a storm; a tourist ship that was involved in her mother’s death appears off the island’s reefs; and, running down a volcanic slope, Nim takes a nasty spill that leaves her feverish, with an infected knee. Though she lives halfway around the world and is in reality a decidedly unadventurous urbanite, Alex, short for “Alexandra,” sets off to the rescue, arriving in the midst of another storm that requires Nim and companions to rescue her. Once Jack brings his battered boat limping home, the stage is set for sunny days again. Plenty of comic, freely-sketched line drawings help to keep the tone light, and Nim, with her unusual associates and just-right mix of self-reliance and vulnerability, makes a character young readers won’t soon tire of. (Fiction. 10-12)

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-375-81123-0

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2000

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