A fine choice that showcases a strong woman inspired to succeed.

ALICE ACROSS AMERICA

THE STORY OF THE FIRST WOMEN'S CROSS-COUNTRY ROAD TRIP

If a man can do it, a woman can, too!

In 1909, Alice Ramsey, an early—and uniquely female—adopter of the automobile, was asked by a carmaker to drive from New York to California in order to show that his cars “were so well built and easy to operate that even a lady could drive one safely.” Dedicated and excited, she and three friends set off on a tumultuous road trip of nearly 4,000 miles (many of them unpaved) in a vehicle of the time that lacked most of the conveniences and many of the safety measures we are familiar with today and became the first woman to drive across the country. Full of relevant detail and steeped in mild suspense, this tale provides accessible historical context in terms of women’s rights and roles as well as information about the development of the automobile in the endnotes. While driving cross country to advertise for a manufacturer may not qualify as the most important achievement in women’s history, this kid-friendly selection shows the power of resilience and determination, presents an interest and accomplishment that runs counter to gender stereotypes, and will draw in those interested in cars, history, and/or women’s rights with its straightforward yet energetic text and stylized illustrations.

A fine choice that showcases a strong woman inspired to succeed. (author’s note, bibliography, map) (Picture book/biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-29702-0

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Christy Ottaviano/Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era.

I AM RUBY BRIDGES

The New Orleans school child who famously broke the color line in 1960 while surrounded by federal marshals describes the early days of her experience from a 6-year-old’s perspective.

Bridges told her tale to younger children in 2009’s Ruby Bridges Goes to School, but here the sensibility is more personal, and the sometimes-shocking historical photos have been replaced by uplifting painted scenes. “I didn’t find out what being ‘the first’ really meant until the day I arrived at this new school,” she writes. Unfrightened by the crowd of “screaming white people” that greets her at the school’s door (she thinks it’s like Mardi Gras) but surprised to find herself the only child in her classroom, and even the entire building, she gradually realizes the significance of her act as (in Smith’s illustration) she compares a small personal photo to the all-White class photos posted on a bulletin board and sees the difference. As she reflects on her new understanding, symbolic scenes first depict other dark-skinned children marching into classes in her wake to friendly greetings from lighter-skinned classmates (“School is just school,” she sensibly concludes, “and kids are just kids”) and finally an image of the bright-eyed icon posed next to a soaring bridge of reconciliation. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era. (author and illustrator notes, glossary) (Autobiographical picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-75388-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 22, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

BASKETBALL DREAMS

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. 28, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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