Garcia is apparently lost to history aside from her petition, but its very existence marks her as “truly an unforgettable...

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WHEN THE SLAVE ESPERANÇA GARCIA WROTE A LETTER

By way of tribute, two admirers spin a tale around a truly rare document: a petition sent by an 18th-century enslaved woman to a Brazilian governor.

The letter, a brief one reporting a new master’s ill treatment and begging for permission to rejoin her husband and have her children baptized, was discovered only in 1979 and is presented here in a modernized translation. Around it Rosa embroiders a rudimentary storyline that feels oddly disconnected. She begins with Garcia herself explaining that her previous, Jesuit owners had taught her to read and write before she was separated from her husband, then switches to the third person at an arbitrary point, then just as abruptly shifts from narrative to exposition at the end. Also, there being no record of a reply to the letter, Rosa opts just to leave Garcia waiting for one, closing with the hyperbolic claim that her “voice was a forceful cry for liberation.” Hees’ richly hued illustrations show Afro-Brazilian influences in stylized background settings made of patterned bands and very dark-skinned figures with strong, composed features. A historical note includes a map of the colonial locale but no reproduction of the actual letter.

Garcia is apparently lost to history aside from her petition, but its very existence marks her as “truly an unforgettable woman!” (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-55498-729-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: Aug. 26, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2015

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Readers who pursue the context will discover that the girl who became an Israeli prime minister had a social conscience.

GOLDIE TAKES A STAND!

GOLDA MEIR'S FIRST CRUSADE

A group of school friends provides Golda Meir with her first leadership test.

Golda is the child of Russian-Jewish immigrants living in Milwaukee when she becomes active in the American Young Sisters Society. As their president, Golda tasks them to raise money to buy new textbooks for classmates. The neighborhood is very poor, and pennies are precious to the shoppers who patronize her parents’ store, so it’s no easy feat. The young girl is highly motivated and struggles to write a speech for a fundraiser, finally deciding to “speak from my heart.” The event is a success, and Golda immediately decides to found a new group and “be [its] president!” In her first book for children, Krasner presents a pleasantly fictionalized story about a future world leader. Garrity-Riley’s digitally manipulated gouache-and-collage illustrations are a nice accompaniment featuring wallpaper backgrounds and fashionable period clothing. However the overall effect, with so many washed-out browns and blues, is drab. Pale circles of cheek blush on the characters bring to mind pages from a shopping catalog. Stopping short of Meir’s Zionist passion and move to Palestine, the book forces readers to consult the biographical note to understand why Goldie is important beyond the story.

Readers who pursue the context will discover that the girl who became an Israeli prime minister had a social conscience. (photographs, places to visit, bibliography) (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4677-1200-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2014

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Parks’ photography gave a powerful and memorable face to racism in America; this book gives him to young readers.

GORDON PARKS

HOW THE PHOTOGRAPHER CAPTURED BLACK AND WHITE AMERICA

He aimed his camera lens at fashion models and at struggling African-American workers.

Parks, a talented and multifaceted man, was born in the Midwest in 1915 and attended a school where the white teacher told the black students that they would “all end up porters and waiters.” But Parks, at 25, was inspired by a magazine article and spent $7.50 on a used camera. He went on to work in Washington, D.C., for the Farm Security Administration, capturing pictures of African-Americans in their everyday lives—not the white men of the monuments. Famously, he portrayed a cleaning lady name Ella Watson in a portrait that became known as his American Gothic. Echoing the farmers in Grant Woods’ painting, Watson posed in front of an American flag with a broom in one hand and a mop in the other. Weatherford writes in the present tense with intensity, carefully choosing words that concisely evoke the man. Christoph’s digitally rendered illustrations brilliantly present Parks’ world through strong linear images and montages of his photographs. One double-page spread hauntingly portrays run-down buildings with the Capitol Dome hovering in the distance.

Parks’ photography gave a powerful and memorable face to racism in America; this book gives him to young readers. (afterword, author’s note, photographs) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8075-3017-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2015

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