A city is more than the sum of its parts!
Full of curiosity from a young age, Jane is a keen observer. Colorful and appealing illustrations tinged with gentle humor show Jane as she explains how the world around her functions to a cadre of imaginary friends. She discovers that manholes look like waffles, and she later sees that gas, water, steam, electricity, and sewage all have their places in structures underground. Animals, plants, and weather are part of an ecosystem. And a city is an ecosystem, too. “It is made of different parts—sidewalks, parks, stores, neighborhoods, City Hall…and people, of course. When they all work together, the city is healthy.” As an adult, Jane becomes a journalist, marries, has children, and fights against city planners who want to tear down neighborhoods to build a series of high-rises. When her own community comes under fire, Jane Jacobs becomes a full-fledged activist, joining rallies, writing letters, and even closing off a park to effectively stand up against big developers who initially dismiss her as a mere mother. While notably addressing character traits such as resilience and integrity, the accessible text is infused with a sense of joie de vivre and a love of cities and community, very successfully showing how social action can develop from belief, dedication, and enthusiasm. Boivin’s soft-edged illustrations depict appealing urban neighborhoods populated by diverse residents who surround Jacobs as the determined, bespectacled white woman ages with vigor.
An inspiring and appealing snapshot of a strong woman and activist, her world and her legacy, told with warmth and charm. (Picture book/biography. 4-8)