An inspirational story about persevering in the face of hardship.

FAUJA SINGH KEEPS GOING

THE TRUE STORY OF THE OLDEST PERSON TO EVER RUN A MARATHON

A short, illustrated biography of Fauja Singh, who was the first 100-year-old to ever run a marathon.

As the picture book begins, Fauja Singh, a clever child with a good sense of fun, often feels left out, as he is unable to walk and run like his friends. His family worries about his weak legs, but the boy learns to walk at the age of 5 after much practice and effort. He cannot go to school, however, as the only school is several miles away from his village, and his legs are still weak; instead, he learns to farm, and by the age of 15, he can walk a whole mile. As the years pass, Fauja gets married, has children, and even gets his own farm. After his wife passes away, Fauja goes to live with his family in England at the age of 81. It is here that Fauja begins to run and even signs up for his first marathon. In his narrative, author Singh (no relation) focuses largely on the life and achievements of his subject, emphasizing the importance of working hard and holding on to dreams, while Kaur’s colorful—at-times collagelike—illustrations include key details that help readers fully appreciate aspects of Fauja’s Sikh religion. Fauja Singh’s foreword combines with further information about the oldest marathoner in the backmatter to help contextualize the narrative for young readers.

An inspirational story about persevering in the face of hardship. (Picture book/biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-55509-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world.

GRANDMA'S GARDENS

In an inviting picture book, Chelsea and Hillary Clinton share personal revelations on how gardening with a grandmother, a mother, and children shapes and nurtures a love and respect for nature, beauty, and a general philosophy for life.

Grandma Dorothy, the former senator, secretary of state, and presidential candidate’s mother, loved gardens, appreciating the multiple benefits they yielded for herself and her family. The Clinton women reminisce about their beloved forebear and all she taught them in a color-coded, alternating text, blue for Chelsea and green for Hillary. Via brief yet explicit remembrances, they share what they learned, observed, and most of all enjoyed in gardens with her. Each double-page spread culminates in a declarative statement set in italicized red text invoking Dorothy’s wise words. Gardens can be many things: places for celebration, discovery and learning, vehicles for teaching responsibility in creating beauty, home to wildlife large and small, a place to share stories and develop memories. Though operating from very personal experience rooted in class privilege, the mother-daughter duo mostly succeeds in imparting a universally significant message: Whether visiting a public garden or working in the backyard, generations can cultivate a lasting bond. Lemniscates uses an appropriately floral palette to evoke the gardens explored by these three white women. A Spanish edition, Los jardines de la abuela, publishes simultaneously; Teresa Mlawer’s translation is fluid and pleasing, in at least one case improving on the original.

Sage, soothing ideas for a busy, loud, sometimes-divisive world. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: March 31, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-11535-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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An inspiring introduction to the young Nobel Peace Prize winner and a useful conversation starter

MALALA'S MAGIC PENCIL

The latest of many picture books about the young heroine from Pakistan, this one is narrated by Malala herself, with a frame that is accessible to young readers.

Malala introduces her story using a television show she used to watch about a boy with a magic pencil that he used to get himself and his friends out of trouble. Readers can easily follow Malala through her own discovery of troubles in her beloved home village, such as other children not attending school and soldiers taking over the village. Watercolor-and-ink illustrations give a strong sense of setting, while gold ink designs overlay Malala’s hopes onto her often dreary reality. The story makes clear Malala’s motivations for taking up the pen to tell the world about the hardships in her village and only alludes to the attempt on her life, with a black page (“the dangerous men tried to silence me. / But they failed”) and a hospital bracelet on her wrist the only hints of the harm that came to her. Crowds with signs join her call before she is shown giving her famous speech before the United Nations. Toward the end of the book, adult readers may need to help children understand Malala’s “work,” but the message of holding fast to courage and working together is powerful and clear.

An inspiring introduction to the young Nobel Peace Prize winner and a useful conversation starter . (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 17, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-31957-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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