A RIDE TO REMEMBER

A CIVIL RIGHTS STORY

This book delivers a beautiful and tender message about equality from the very first page. (Picture book/memoir. 6-9)

Sharon Langley became the first African American child to legally ride the carousel at Gwynn Oak Amusement Park in Baltimore, Maryland, one month before her first birthday, in 1963.

Her ride on the carousel followed a series of protests and the arrests of many, including children, who demanded the park integrate. The story is told through a conversational reminiscence between a school-age Sharon and her parents, interspersed with moments when Langley speaks to readers as an adult. The questions the little girl poses to her parents are those one would expect from a child grappling with injustice: “What about the Golden Rule? What about treating other people the way you want to be treated?” Her mother tenderly answers her innocent yet complicated questions with kindness and grace: “I guess some people forgot that the Golden Rule is supposed to include everyone.” Braided into the story are mentions of the other children who participated in the protests for the integration of the park. Backmatter includes photographs and a note from Langley, a timeline, and updates about the people mentioned in the story. Cooper’s grainy sepia and golden tones with bright bursts of color give the book a dreamy and nostalgic quality that fits well with the story.

This book delivers a beautiful and tender message about equality from the very first page. (Picture book/memoir. 6-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3685-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

Categories:

BEYOND THE MOONGATE

TRUE STORIES OF 1920S CHINA

A fragmentary memoir, but warm, humorous and engaging overall.

Anecdotal paintings and reminiscences of two childhood years spent in China, by an artist now in her 90s.

Following up Once Upon a Full Moon (2007), an account of her family’s journey from Canada to Kwangtung province, Quan recalls 17 experiences or incidents during the stay. These include feasting on New Year’s Day (“Mama steamed a whole chicken inside a winter melon and made sweet red and green bean paste…”), gathering to watch a teen relative take a bucket shower (“We all laughed with glee”), and welcoming both a new piglet and, later, a new baby brother. Opposite each memory, a full-page, loosely brushed watercolor in a naïve style adds both cultural and comical notes with depictions of small, active or intent figures in village dress and settings. It’s a sunny picture, but there are references to the real dangers of pirates and brigands, as well as a comment about the author’s beloved Popo (grandmother) walking to church on bound feet. These, along with a final parting made particularly poignant since the baby, being foreign-born, had to be left in China for several years, keep it from becoming a sugary nostalgiafest.

A fragmentary memoir, but warm, humorous and engaging overall. (afterword, with photo of Popo) (Illustrated memoir. 6-9)

Pub Date: March 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-77049-383-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2013

QUEENIE

ONE ELEPHANT'S STORY

Sad indeed, but a little bland—though less traumatic in the telling than the stories of Jumbo or the Faithful Elephants...

In this true tale of an elephant that crushed a keeper after peacefully giving zoo visitors rides for nearly 40 years, Fenton tones the drama down to near nonexistence (for better or worse).

Arriving at the Melbourne Zoo as a youngster, Queenie began giving rides in 1905. She became such a fixture that children wrote her letters, her birthday was celebrated each year, and she even marched in the Centenary Floral Parade in 1934. After creating an endearing but not anthropomorphic portrait of her pachyderm protagonist, the author, warning that “Queenie’s story has a sad ending,” goes on to explain that even though the 1944 killing might have been just an accident, “the gentle Indian elephant was put to sleep.” Furthermore, she was never replaced; the elephants in today’s zoo occupy a habitat where they can “do just what elephants like to do.” Neither the incident itself nor Queenie’s end are specifically described or depicted, and Gouldthorpe’s illustrations, which look like old, hand-tinted photographs, put a nostalgic distance between viewers and events.

Sad indeed, but a little bland—though less traumatic in the telling than the stories of Jumbo or the Faithful Elephants (1988) killed at the Tokyo Zoo. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6375-9

Page Count: 25

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 30, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2013

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