Despite the gentle way this book unfolds, the language and images deal a blow to racist thinking and just might inspire the...

THE CASE FOR LOVING

THE FIGHT FOR INTERRACIAL MARRIAGE

Biography and autobiography intertwine in this account of the landmark case of Loving v. Virginia.

Richard Loving, pale-skinned and vulnerable to sunburn, and Mildred Jeter, a brown-skinned woman of African-American and Cherokee descent, fell in love in 1958. But in the state of Virginia, miscegenation was illegal and punishable by imprisonment. They traveled to Washington, D.C., to marry legally, but when they returned and moved in together, the local police arrested and jailed them. This story makes palatable for young readers a painful, personal and true story of the injustices interracial couples suffered as recently as 60 years ago. Alko and Qualls reveal the double-layered nature of this story with a photograph of themselves; this was the perfect story for a collaboration since their journey echoes the Lovings’. In the backmatter, Alko cites the current statistics on gay marriage and hopes that “there will soon come a time when all people who love each other have the same rights as Sean and I have.” The “Suggestions for Further Reading” mentions both earlier books in the same tradition, such as Arnold Adoff and Emily Arnold McCully’s Black Is Brown Is Tan (1973, 2002), and contemporary ones that detail other civil rights struggles.

Despite the gentle way this book unfolds, the language and images deal a blow to racist thinking and just might inspire the next generation of young civil rights activists. (artists’ note, sources) (Informational picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 6, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-545-47853-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Levine/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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Readers will agree that “Melba Doretta Liston was something special.” (Picture book. 4-8)

LITTLE MELBA AND HER BIG TROMBONE

Bewitched by the rhythms of jazz all around her in Depression-era Kansas City, little Melba Doretta Liston longs to make music in this fictional account of a little-known jazz great.

Picking up the trombone at 7, the little girl teaches herself to play with the support of her Grandpa John and Momma Lucille, performing on the radio at 8 and touring as a pro at just 17. Both text and illustrations make it clear that it’s not all easy for Melba; “The Best Service for WHITES ONLY” reads a sign in a hotel window as the narrative describes a bigotry-plagued tour in the South with Billie Holiday. But joy carries the day, and the story ends on a high note, with Melba “dazzling audiences and making headlines” around the world. Russell-Brown’s debut text has an innate musicality, mixing judicious use of onomatopoeia with often sonorous prose. Morrison’s sinuous, exaggerated lines are the perfect match for Melba’s story; she puts her entire body into her playing, the exaggerated arch of her back and thrust of her shoulders mirroring the curves of her instrument. In one thrilling spread, the evening gown–clad instrumentalist stands over the male musicians, her slide crossing the gutter while the back bow disappears off the page to the left. An impressive discography complements a two-page afterword and a thorough bibliography.

Readers will agree that “Melba Doretta Liston was something special.” (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-60060-898-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: June 4, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2014

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