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An important, uplifting biography with historical and contemporary significance.

This biography of Black Georgian politician Stacey Abrams emphasizes her commitment to public service.

Abrams’ work to ensure that the people have a voice in who their leaders are started many years ago. As a child, she heard her parents’ stories of fighting for Black people’s right to vote during the civil rights movement. From an early age, she learned to ask, “How can I help?”—something readers see her asking herself throughout the book. As a high school valedictorian invited to the governor’s mansion, she was initially turned away by a White guard at the front gate, but her parents pushed for her to be let in. Readers also see her attending Spelman College, participating in student demonstrations after the verdict exonerating the policemen who beat Rodney King, and speaking to the media and the mayor of Atlanta about the protests and the needs of young Black people. Generous text details Abrams’ achievements, including her work as a lawyer, her election to the Georgia House of Representatives, her unsuccessful campaign for governor in an unfair election (a lack of polling places and functioning voting machines resulted in long waits for Black voters), and her extensive efforts getting voters registered and challenging unjust election laws. This is a comprehensive, inspiring biography of a leader whose moral compass guides her work. Mikai’s art faithfully represents Abrams at different ages and in various settings and helps communicate to young readers the experiences that distinguish Abrams’ life as well as the social situations and power dynamics that inform her priorities. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An important, uplifting biography with historical and contemporary significance. (timeline, bibliography, sources) (Picture-book biography. 6-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-64379-497-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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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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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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