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 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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


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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A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal.


Before growing up to become a major figure in the civil rights movement, a boy finds a role model.

Buffing up a childhood tale told by her renowned father, Young Shelton describes how young Andrew saw scary men marching in his New Orleans neighborhood (“It sounded like they were yelling ‘Hi, Hitler!’ ”). In response to his questions, his father took him to see a newsreel of Jesse Owens (“a runner who looked like me”) triumphing in the 1936 Olympics. “Racism is a sickness,” his father tells him. “We’ve got to help folks like that.” How? “Well, you can start by just being the best person you can be,” his father replies. “It’s what you do that counts.” In James’ hazy chalk pastels, Andrew joins racially diverse playmates (including a White child with an Irish accent proudly displaying the nickel he got from his aunt as a bribe to stop playing with “those Colored boys”) in tag and other games, playing catch with his dad, sitting in the midst of a cheering crowd in the local theater’s segregated balcony, and finally visualizing himself pelting down a track alongside his new hero—“head up, back straight, eyes focused,” as a thematically repeated line has it, on the finish line. An afterword by Young Shelton explains that she retold this story, told to her many times growing up, drawing from conversations with Young and from her own research; family photos are also included. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal. (illustrator’s note) (Autobiographical picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-545-55465-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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