Light on specific detail but a welcome notice that our government is increasingly diversifying.

A boy of Palestinian descent explains how (and why) his mom, Rashida Tlaib, went into politics.

Using a deep-seated desire to help others as both theme and motivation, Adam describes how his mother, growing up in a polluted neighborhood of Detroit as the eldest of 14 siblings and experiencing both prejudice and poverty, went on to earn a law degree, to work for and then (after prayer and reflection) succeed a state representative, and, in time, to win election to the national House of Representatives—where, she explains, if the president should misbehave, she can vote to “give him a time out!” Other than that, she has little to say about her policies or projects. “Mama, why are you one of the first Muslim women in Congress?” asks Adam’s younger brother, Yousif. Standing before an unlabeled but recognizable portrait of Shirley Chisholm in Aserr’s bright, chipper rendition of the Capitol’s foyer, Mama answers, “Sometimes it takes many to run for there to be a first”—a pointed, if potentially misleading (given that Chisholm wasn’t Muslim), moment. There and in other settings ranging from smoky cityscapes to retro suburban scenes, the small figures of hurrying passersby or celebratory election workers that join the representative and her two children (dad, divorced, escapes mention) feature several people of color, including some wearing hijabs. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Light on specific detail but a welcome notice that our government is increasingly diversifying. (glossary) (Picture-book biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-358-68343-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022


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


From the Ordinary People Change the World series

Blandly laudatory.

The iconic animator introduces young readers to each “happy place” in his life.

The tally begins with his childhood home in Marceline, Missouri, and climaxes with Disneyland (carefully designed to be “the happiest place on Earth”), but the account really centers on finding his true happy place, not on a map but in drawing. In sketching out his early flubs and later rocket to the top, the fictive narrator gives Ub Iwerks and other Disney studio workers a nod (leaving his labor disputes with them unmentioned) and squeezes in quick references to his animated films, from Steamboat Willie to Winnie the Pooh (sans Fantasia and Song of the South). Eliopoulos incorporates stills from the films into his cartoon illustrations and, characteristically for this series, depicts Disney as a caricature, trademark mustache in place on outsized head even in childhood years and child sized even as an adult. Human figures default to white, with occasional people of color in crowd scenes and (ahistorically) in the animation studio. One unidentified animator builds up the role-modeling with an observation that Walt and Mickey were really the same (“Both fearless; both resourceful”). An assertion toward the end—“So when do you stop being a child? When you stop dreaming”—muddles the overall follow-your-bliss message. A timeline to the EPCOT Center’s 1982 opening offers photos of the man with select associates, rodent and otherwise. An additional series entry, I Am Marie Curie, publishes simultaneously, featuring a gowned, toddler-sized version of the groundbreaking physicist accepting her two Nobel prizes.

Blandly laudatory. (bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 10, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2875-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2019

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