As powerful as the woman it profiles.

A woman in the White House? Shirley!

The life of teacher, activist, and congressperson Shirley Chisholm is examined in this poetic biography that packs an exciting and educational punch. Endpages include select quotations, like “Service is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this earth,” and images of quippy campaign buttons (“Ms. Chis. for Pres.”). As the book opens, readers meet baby Shirley and learn about her early life in Brooklyn before she and her sisters were sent to live with their grandmother in Barbados. Returning to New York at the age of 9, Shirley set out to become a teacher, but her desire for everyone to be treated equally led her to the world of politics. Advancing from an assemblyperson in New York to Congress wasn’t easy, but Shirley persisted, eventually running for president in the 1970s. The tone of the book is inspiring, but Brown doesn’t shy away from the mistreatment Chisholm encountered: “When Representative Chisholm / walked the hallowed halls of Congress, / the thing she felt most / was unwelcome. / No one would sit with her at lunch. / Her colleagues made nasty remarks. / One man even spat when she entered the room. / All to scare her / and keep her in her place.” Crews’ vividly textured illustrations positively sing, enhancing the text and making for a perfect introduction for young readers everywhere. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

As powerful as the woman it profiles. (author and illustrator notes, timeline, bibliography, additional sources, note about quotations) (Picture-book biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-72842-008-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022



It’s an often-told story, but the author is still in a position to give it a unique perspective.

The author of Promises to Keep: How Jackie Robinson Changed America (2004) tells her father’s tale again, for younger readers.

Though using a less personal tone this time and referring to herself in the third person, Robinson still devotes as much attention to his family life, youth and post-baseball career as she does to his achievements on the field. Writing in short sentences and simple language, she presents a clear picture of the era’s racial attitudes and the pressures he faced both in the military service and in baseball—offering plenty of clear reasons to regard him not just as a champion athlete, but as a hero too. An early remark about how he ran with “a bunch of black, Japanese, and Mexican boys” while growing up in Pasadena is insensitively phrased, and a sweeping claim that by 1949 “[t]he racial tension was broken” in baseball is simplistic. Nevertheless, by and large her account covers the bases adequately. The many photos include an admixture of family snapshots, and a closing Q-and-A allows the author to announce the imminent release of a new feature film about Robinson.

It’s an often-told story, but the author is still in a position to give it a unique perspective. (Biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: March 1, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-545-54006-3

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2013



A squeaky-clean biography of the original Mouseketeer.

Scollon begins with the (to say the least) arguable claim that Disney grew up to “define and shape what would come to be known as the American Century.” Following this, he retraces Disney’s life and career, characterizing him as a visionary whose only real setbacks came from excess ambition or at the hands of unscrupulous film distributors. Disney’s brother Roy appears repeatedly to switch between roles as encourager and lead doubter, but except in chapters covering his childhood, the rest of his family only puts in occasional cameos. Unsurprisingly, there is no mention of Disney’s post–World War II redbaiting, and his most controversial film, Song of the South, gets only a single reference (and that with a positive slant). More puzzling is the absence of Mary Poppins from the tally of Disney triumphs. Still, readers will come away with a good general picture of the filmmaking and animation techniques that Disney pioneered, as well as a highlight history of his studio, television work and amusement parks. Discussion questions are appended: “What do you think were Walt Disney’s greatest accomplishments and why?” Brown’s illustrations not seen. An iconic success story that has often been told before but rarely so one-dimensionally or with such firm adherence to the company line. (bibliography) (Biography. 8-10)


Pub Date: July 15, 2014

ISBN: 978-1-4231-9647-1

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Disney Press

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2014

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