A celebration of small miracles.

SEA GLASS SUMMER

“Some years ago, a boy named Thomas” spends a summer collecting fragments of sea glass and dreaming of their origins.

Photorealistic watercolor illustrations depict both mid-20th-century Maine’s dappled rocks, glinting waters, and lucid sunlight and also a grandmother’s entreating, tender smile and a grandson’s eager, earnest eyes. Thomas skips rocks and scans the shore, wholly absorbed in exploration, discovery, and imaginative play. His grandfather’s magnifying glass brings the bits and pieces given up by the ocean into focus. These masterful, moving watercolor pictures transmit feelings and features so faithfully they feel somehow deeply personal. The boy’s dreams, which trace his various sea-glass finds back to the events that made them shards in the ocean, appear as full-bleed, double-page spreads in gradations of gray. Even though set in the monochromatic past, these historical scenes (a ship’s christening, a schooner tossed in a tempest’s fury) still appear startlingly clear, specific, and realistic. Young readers might play with the idea that Thomas’ dreams transmit actual historical events, turning this inexplicable impossibility over in their minds again and again like a piece of glass tumbling in the tide. When a present-day girl hands her Papaw Tom a piece of clear sea glass she finds, one that could have come from a broken magnifying glass decades before, the past and present converge. Thomas and his family all present white.

A celebration of small miracles. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8443-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance.

MUMBET'S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

With the words of Massachusetts colonial rebels ringing in her ears, a slave determines to win her freedom.

In 1780, Mumbet heard the words of the new Massachusetts constitution, including its declaration of freedom and equality. With the help of a young lawyer, she went to court and the following year, won her freedom, becoming Elizabeth Freeman. Slavery was declared illegal and subsequently outlawed in the state. Woelfle writes with fervor as she describes Mumbet’s life in the household of John Ashley, a rich landowner and businessman who hosted protest meetings against British taxation. His wife was abrasive and abusive, striking out with a coal shovel at a young girl, possibly Mumbet’s daughter. Mumbet deflected the blow and regarded the wound as “her badge of bravery.” Ironically, the lawyer who took her case, Theodore Sedgwick, had attended John Ashley’s meetings. Delinois’ full-bleed paintings are heroic in scale, richly textured and vibrant. Typography becomes part of the page design as the font increases when the text mentions freedom. Another slave in the Ashley household was named in the court case, but Woelfle, keeping her young audience in mind, keeps it simple, wisely focusing on Mumbet.

A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance. (author’s note, selected bibliography, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6589-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape.

RAFI AND ROSI MUSIC!

From the Rafi and Rosi series

The fourth installment in Delacre’s early-reader series centers on the rich musical traditions of Puerto Rico, once again featuring sibling tree frogs Rafi and Rosi Coquí.

Readers learn along with Rafi and Rosi as they explore bomba, plena, and salsa in three chapters. A glossary at the beginning sets readers up well to understand the Spanish vocabulary, including accurate phoneticization for non-Spanish speakers. The stories focus on Rafi and Rosi’s relationship within a musical context. For example, in one chapter Rafi finds out that he attracts a larger audience playing his homemade güiro with Rosi’s help even though he initially excluded her: “Big brothers only.” Even when he makes mistakes, as the older brother, Rafi consoles Rosi when she is embarrassed or angry at him. In each instance, their shared joy for music and dance ultimately shines through any upsets—a valuable reflection of unity. Informational backmatter and author’s sources are extensive. Undoubtedly these will help teachers, librarians, and parents to develop Puerto Rican cultural programs, curriculum, or home activities to extend young readers’ learning. The inclusion of instructions to make one’s own homemade güiro is a thoughtful addition. The Spanish translation, also by Delacre and published simultaneously, will require a more advanced reader than the English one to recognize and comprehend contractions (“pa’bajo-pa-pa’rriba”) and relatively sophisticated vocabulary.

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape. (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-89239-429-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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