A fine picture book to sit on the shelf alongside Ruby Bridges’ Through My Eyes (1999) and Doreen Rappaport and Bryan...

MAKE A CHANGE

One kid learns a lesson on how dangerous making assumptions can be.

Marvin hates shopping, but Mama takes him to the new Rich’s department store for new pants. After Marvin tries on “everything in the store,” they finally go to the grill inside Rich’s for lunch. But sitting at the lunch counter is for “whites only,” and an older white man reminds Marvin of this when the boy tries out the shiny red swivel stools. But Mama says change is coming. When the family gets the opportunity to help usher in the change, the kids participate too. Since the city won’t allow black citizens to picket in front of Rich’s, they organize a pray-in instead. During this momentous event, Marvin realizes that blacks are not fighting for civil rights alone. This epiphany changes his life. Based on an incident in the childhood of co-author James “Sparky” Rucker, this story takes place in Knoxville, Tennessee. Since so many children’s stories about the movement take place in Alabama, Louisiana, or Mississippi, this one will help to broaden young readers’ understanding of its geographical reach. Nicol’s illustrations, with deep, rich colors, capture well the determination of the black citizens and the stress that comes with breaking through racial barriers.

A fine picture book to sit on the shelf alongside Ruby Bridges’ Through My Eyes (1999) and Doreen Rappaport and Bryan Collier’s Martin’s Big Words (2001) . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4556-2275-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Pelican

Review Posted Online: June 14, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2017

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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 good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST

Echoing the meter of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” Ward uses catchy original rhymes to describe the variety of nests birds create.

Each sweet stanza is complemented by a factual, engaging description of the nesting habits of each bird. Some of the notes are intriguing, such as the fact that the hummingbird uses flexible spider web to construct its cup-shaped nest so the nest will stretch as the chicks grow. An especially endearing nesting behavior is that of the emperor penguin, who, with unbelievable patience, incubates the egg between his tummy and his feet for up to 60 days. The author clearly feels a mission to impart her extensive knowledge of birds and bird behavior to the very young, and she’s found an appealing and attractive way to accomplish this. The simple rhymes on the left page of each spread, written from the young bird’s perspective, will appeal to younger children, and the notes on the right-hand page of each spread provide more complex factual information that will help parents answer further questions and satisfy the curiosity of older children. Jenkins’ accomplished collage illustrations of common bird species—woodpecker, hummingbird, cowbird, emperor penguin, eagle, owl, wren—as well as exotics, such as flamingoes and hornbills, are characteristically naturalistic and accurate in detail.

A good bet for the youngest bird-watchers.   (author’s note, further resources) (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 18, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4424-2116-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2014

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