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An inspiring celebration of passion, dedication, and success.

At 30, Shaesta Waiz became the first woman from Afghanistan and the youngest woman ever to fly a single-engine aircraft around the world.

Born in an Afghanistan refugee camp, Shaesta moved to the United States as a baby with her family. As a young child, Shaesta declares she “will do great things!” After graduating high school, inspired by a trip to Florida and “the view from above,” Shaesta dreams of becoming a pilot. Although many try to discourage her, Shaesta’s determination leads her to graduate college (the first in her family to do so) and to get her pilot’s license. She doesn’t just travel—she meets with children all over the world to “get them excited about careers in science, technology, engineering, and math to chase down dreams of their own!” Referring to her subject by her first name throughout, Pimm introduces Waiz as a baby and chronologically traces her growth into an adult who can make her own decisions. Bye’s colorful illustrations emphasize Waiz’s excitement, occasional fear, and determination. One early spread juxtaposes life at home, with her family speaking Farsi and Pashto, against school, where “she learned to be American,” implying at home she is un-American—an unfortunate misstep. Overall, however, the narrative succeeds in introducing readers to a role model worth knowing. An author’s note describes Waiz’s Dreams Soar foundation, and a note from Waiz herself closes the book. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.3-by-17.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 56.8% of actual size.)

An inspiring celebration of passion, dedication, and success. (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5064-6468-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beaming Books

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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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

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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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