A thoughtful introduction to both the power of reading and an inspiring role model.

TURNING PAGES

MY LIFE STORY

The Supreme Court justice shares how books, reading, and words have shaped her life.

“My story is a story about books—of poems and comics, of law and mystery, of science and science fiction—written both in Spanish and in English.” So starts this book written with Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s voice clearly felt yet also very accessible to her target audience. The author recalls her first encounter with the power of words, hearing her abuelita recite poems about Puerto Rico, her island home. Comic books about people with superpowers fueled her bravery as she coped with diabetes. After the death of her father when she was 9, books and the library helped her escape sadness at home. Her mother’s purchase of an encyclopedia set unveiled the secrets of the world. Sotomayor describes books as companions, launchpads, lenses that brought focus to the world around her and helped her sort out right from wrong. Delacre’s mixed-media illustrations contribute to the child-friendly feel of the book and neatly extend the metaphors the text spins. Without context provided, the initial illustrations depicting a child and an older woman going food shopping might be puzzling to readers not familiar with the close connection between Sotomayor and her grandmother. Otherwise the illustrations go hand in hand with the narration.

A thoughtful introduction to both the power of reading and an inspiring role model. (timeline, photographs) (Picture book/biography. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-51408-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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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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