Inspired by the emotional barriers of humans, Kuklin’s (Harlem Nutcracker, 2001, etc.) latest photo essay focuses on the form and function of walls. The theme “We share walls” repeats throughout as photographs framed in black stand out against muted images and earth-toned blocks of color. The opening spread, for example, shows “The Algarve,” a building in southern Portugal. A deep-green wall cuts diagonally across the navy sky; a white turret punctuates the center. On the next spread, a winding wall borders a French village (“Some are / old and thick / and made / of stone”) and a glass wall rises above a New York City rooftop (“Some are / clear and thin / for the sky / to come in”). Throughout, Kuklin juxtaposes ancient (the Lascaux caves painted by Cro-Magnons) and modern (a wall in Soho, New York, decorated with a trio of images of a human form running, jumping, and leaping into the air); the ephemeral (sandcastles in Southampton, Long Island) and the seemingly rock solid (a weather worn facade of an Italian building). Some, like the colorful school yard mural in Harlem and a memorial to a departed pet are simple celebrations while others such as the Great Wall of China signify larger cultural and political themes (“Fortress — / barricade — / rampart — / fence. / a wall / can separate / a very large / space”). Large print and bold layout make for a pleasing visual presentation. Labels identify the location where each photograph was taken while an Author’s Note provides additional details. Kuklin’s thoughtful exploration of these human-made creations is sure to inspire discussion. (Picture book/nonfiction. 5-9)

Pub Date: April 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-399-23492-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2002

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A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance.


With the words of Massachusetts colonial rebels ringing in her ears, a slave determines to win her freedom.

In 1780, Mumbet heard the words of the new Massachusetts constitution, including its declaration of freedom and equality. With the help of a young lawyer, she went to court and the following year, won her freedom, becoming Elizabeth Freeman. Slavery was declared illegal and subsequently outlawed in the state. Woelfle writes with fervor as she describes Mumbet’s life in the household of John Ashley, a rich landowner and businessman who hosted protest meetings against British taxation. His wife was abrasive and abusive, striking out with a coal shovel at a young girl, possibly Mumbet’s daughter. Mumbet deflected the blow and regarded the wound as “her badge of bravery.” Ironically, the lawyer who took her case, Theodore Sedgwick, had attended John Ashley’s meetings. Delinois’ full-bleed paintings are heroic in scale, richly textured and vibrant. Typography becomes part of the page design as the font increases when the text mentions freedom. Another slave in the Ashley household was named in the court case, but Woelfle, keeping her young audience in mind, keeps it simple, wisely focusing on Mumbet.

A life devoted to freedom and dignity, worthy of praise and remembrance. (author’s note, selected bibliography, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-7613-6589-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Carolrhoda

Review Posted Online: Oct. 9, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2013

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A powerful retrospective glimpse at a key event.


A vibrantly illustrated account of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade through the eyes of a young girl who volunteers to participate.

Morrison’s signature style depicts each black child throughout the book as a distinct individual; on the endpapers, children hold signs that collectively create a “Civil Rights and the Children’s Crusade” timeline, placing the events of the book in the context of the greater movement. When Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. comes to speak at her church, a girl and her brother volunteer to march in their parents’ stead. The narrative succinctly explains why the Children’s Crusade was a necessary logistical move, one that children and parents made with careful consideration and despite fear. Lines of text (“Let the children march. / They will lead the way // The path may be long and / troubled, but I’m gonna walk on!”) are placed within the illustrations in bold swoops for emphasis. Morrison’s powerful use of perspective makes his beautiful oil paintings even more dynamic and conveys the intensity of the situations depicted, including the children’s being arrested, hosed, and jailed. The child crusaders, regardless of how badly they’re treated, never lose their dignity, which the art conveys flawlessly. While the children win the day, such details as the Confederate flag subtly connect the struggle to the current day.

A powerful retrospective glimpse at a key event. (timeline, afterword, artist’s statement, quote sources, bibliography) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-544-70452-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2017

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