The poetry here is well-done, and although there is no real topical or stylistic cohesion, the assortment offers something...

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CLIMBING SHADOWS

POEMS FOR CHILDREN

This collection of 20 poems inspired by the poet’s volunteer work in a kindergarten lunchroom is united by authorship; entries address a variety of topics and are expressed in multiple styles.

The subject matter is generally accessible and of interest, including family vignettes (“The Snow Is Melting”), feelings (“afterschool”), animals (“a spider way of thinking,” “Owl Secrets”), and toys (“My Cars Never Sleep”). Length and format vary too: “Little Yellow House” is only nine words long; others have several stanzas. Not all utilize traditional capitalization and punctuation. Some layouts are straightforward, left-justified and single- or double-spaced; others feature irregular spaces between lines or between phrases on the same line but are not quite concrete poetry. Figurative language is especially effective in “The Envelope,” a litany of ways a child thinks of their mother. Most read well out loud, with appropriate scansion and without the pitfall of forced rhyme. Derby’s sophisticated illustrations, done in watercolor, digital collage, and India ink, have a subdued tone and leave room for the imagination; some are simple, small vignettes on white space, while others feature gently washy backgrounds.

The poetry here is well-done, and although there is no real topical or stylistic cohesion, the assortment offers something for readers with varying preferences. (Picture book/poetry. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77306-095-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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While this book and its companion appear to be meant for the lower elementary grades, these British imports will require too...

REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS

From the Children in Our World series

With this series entry, Roberts attempts to help readers understand that their peers in many parts of the world are suffering and becoming refugees because of “wars, natural disasters, and acts of terrorism.”

The book also speaks about migrants as people who “leave for a happier, healthier life, to join family members overseas, or because they don’t have enough money and need a job.” This effort aims to educate child readers, reassuring them that “most people have a safe and comfortable home to live in” and while “it can be upsetting to think about what life is like for refugees and migrants,” kids can do something to help. Some practical suggestions are provided and websites included for several aid organizations. Companion title Poverty and Hunger, by Louise Spilsbury and also illustrated by Kai, follows the same format, presenting a double-page spread with usually one to three short paragraphs on a topic. A yellow catlike animal with a black-and-white striped tail is found in every picture in both books and seems an odd unifying feature. Mixed-media illustrations in muted colors feature stylized children and adults against handsomely textured areas; they exude an empty sense of unreality in spite of racial diversity and varied landscapes. By trying too hard to make comparisons accessible, Roberts ends up trivializing some concepts. Speaking about camping and refugee camps in the same sentence is very misleading.

While this book and its companion appear to be meant for the lower elementary grades, these British imports will require too much adult intervention to be very useful. (bibliography, websites, glossary, index) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4380-5020-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barron's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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PIES FROM NOWHERE

HOW GEORGIA GILMORE SUSTAINED THE MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT

Despite significant danger to themselves, Georgia Gilmore and the Club from Nowhere raised support for the Montgomery bus boycott.

Georgia Gilmore was an excellent cook and baker. The third-person narrator explains that when Rosa Parks was jailed, Georgia had already been boycotting the Montgomery buses (due to mistreatment from drivers) for two months. Tired of injustice, when the citywide boycott began, Georgia wanted to support the cause. So she made use of her remarkable culinary skills: Along with other women, she cooked and baked, donating their sales to the cause. To avoid retribution, the proceeds were donated anonymously. The boycott is explained simply—even children with no prior knowledge of segregation or the civil rights movement will be able to follow the story with little exposition. Though Georgia eventually faced retaliation, she remained true to her beliefs and became an entrepreneur, creating a safe meeting space for civil rights leaders. The text placement sometimes feels clunky, and some of the single-page spreads can feel confusing in juxtaposition (though the art is otherwise well-executed). Despite these minor flaws, the message that, like Georgia, everyone can find a place in the fight for social justice is clear. Pair with Monica Clark-Robinson and Frank Morrison’s Let the Children March (2017) and Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich and Jade Johnson’s Someday Is Now (2017) or other titles that highlight lesser-known figures for a fuller understanding of the civil rights movement.

Empowering. (sources, author’s note, recipe) (Informational picture book. 6-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0720-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee

Review Posted Online: Oct. 15, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2018

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