An inspiring picture book about eco-feminism in action in the global south.

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111 TREES

HOW ONE VILLAGE CELEBRATES THE BIRTH OF EVERY GIRL

From the CitizenKid series

Haunted by the untimely deaths of his mother and daughter, an Indian man named Sundar grows up to become an activist dedicated to advancing gender equity and environmental justice in his home state of Rajasthan.

After he gets married, Sundar works in a marble quarry owned by men who unapologetically wreak ecological havoc on the land. Disgusted by these practices, Sundar quits his job and runs for the position of head of his village, a title known as the sarpanch, and wins. His joy is short-lived: A year after his victory, his oldest daughter dies. As he mourns, he notices how little female children are valued in his village. He then hatches a plan to honor his daughter’s memory, change attitudes about gender, and combat the deforestation that has been devastating the local land. Every time a girl is born in the village, Sundar decides that the people will plant 111 trees in her honor. Sundar’s idea fundamentally affects his hometown in deeply positive ways. Including endnotes about Rajasthan, gender equity, and eco-feminism, this earnest, inspiring book forthrightly discusses everything from environmental exploitation to female feticide in language suitable for young readers. Although many readers will give a side-eye when Sundar tells the villagers that in developed countries “girls and boys are treated equally,” overall, this is an uplifting story about the power of personal action. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-19-inch double-page spreads viewed at 41.1% of actual size.)

An inspiring picture book about eco-feminism in action in the global south. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0120-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: Sept. 1, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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This charming star shines bright.

THE SUN IS KIND OF A BIG DEAL

A humorous introduction to our sun and the solar system.

Webcomic creator Seluk aquaints readers with the sun (sporting a sly grin and a cool pair of shades) and its position as both the literal and metaphorical star of the solar system. Readers are introduced to the planets’ general relationships to the sun before diving deeper into the Earth’s unique reliance on the sun: “It does a ton of important jobs for Earth. In fact, we wouldn’t be around without the Sun!” The book explores everything from the effects of Earth’s rotation on our planet’s temperatures, daylight, and seasons to the water cycle and photosynthesis with clear and friendly prose. The planets’ characterizations are silly and irreverent: Venus wears a visor, Saturn is a hula-hoop champ, and Jupiter desperately wants an autograph but pretends it’s for one of its moons. Speech-bubble asides and simple but expressive faces and arm postures add to the celestial bodies’ personalities. Bright colors, contrasting backgrounds, and bold lines are engaging but never overwhelming. Vocabulary words set in boldface are tied to a glossary in the back. Backmatter also includes a gossip-magazine–style spread (“Planets: They’re Just Like Us!”) and a “Did You Know” section that highlights ancient civilizations’ beliefs about the sun.

This charming star shines bright. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-338-16697-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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Effectively argues that “People are more powerful together.”

SOMETIMES PEOPLE MARCH

Simple, direct statements are paired with watercolor illustrations to highlight some of the rallying causes for organized marches throughout the history of the United States.

The text and art begin with two marches that will reemerge as metaphor later in the book: a long line of ants marching to and from a piece of watermelon, and members of a blue-and-gold–clad marching band following their leader’s baton. As the band recedes on the verso, across the gutter an extremely diverse group of people similar to the crowds marching across the book’s cover advances toward readers on recto. Here the text repeats the book’s title. Next, negative space surrounds a small group of women and children—obviously from an earlier time—holding a protest sign. The text explains that sometimes people march “to resist injustice.” The facing page shows a contemporary family gazing with chagrin at a polluted beach; they will march because they “notice a need for change.” The text continues to offer simple explanations of why people march, eventually moving to other peaceful means of resistance, including signs, boycotts, strikes, sit-ins, and “taking a knee.” Hardship in the form of physical and psychic exhaustion is mentioned, but police and other legally sanctioned violence against protest is not—the general mood is uplifting encouragement to young, potential activists. This timely book combines rudimentary facts about peaceful resistance with art that depicts organized actions from the 19th century through today, and endnotes reveal more specifics about each illustration, including historic figures represented.

Effectively argues that “People are more powerful together.” (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-299118-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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