Cheerful art and an encouraging story of one girl’s hard work leading to real change.


Zoe's Sidewalk

A little girl realizes she can’t help her grandmother until she helps her community in this moving debut by Robinson, featuring Matsuoka’s fantastic illustrations of a modern African-American family.

Eleven-year-old Zoe is very close to her grandmother, which makes it particularly hard to cope with life after Gram’s heart attack. The doctors have said Gram needs more exercise to help her recover and be healthy. Gram proposes a walk after dinner, which Zoe thinks is a great idea—until her mother points out that, without sidewalks, Gram’s unsteady walking won’t be safe. Zoe’s worry grows until, at school, a visiting guest who works for the city tells the students they can submit photographs of things in their neighborhood that make it difficult to be healthy. The story follows a predictable, but nonetheless powerful, pattern as Zoe takes photos of her neighborhood’s streets, showing that the lack of sidewalks makes it difficult to be a pedestrian. (There are depictions of her taking the photos but no actual photos.) Her project is chosen to compete in front of the mayor, though Zoe doesn’t expect to win first prize. Along the way, Zoe has very few hurdles to overcome except waiting and doing her best. The lack of tension works well: the story shows young readers, especially those of disadvantaged communities, that with time, effort, and the right advocates, they can make a difference. Robinson, who has worked on Photovoice projects but is unaffiliated with the company, puts her real-world experience into an easy-to-grasp format. Zoe’s earnestness and willingness to work—all out of concern for a beloved grandmother—are easy traits to admire. Vocabulary is appropriate for middle graders reading upper-level chapter books, and the frequent full-color illustrations break up the text nicely.

Cheerful art and an encouraging story of one girl’s hard work leading to real change.

Pub Date: Oct. 13, 2013

ISBN: 978-0615893532

Page Count: 58

Publisher: La Peche Books

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2016

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The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and...


Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown’s latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra’s colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana’s real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as “quiquiriquí,” “tacatac” and “iii-aah” adding to the fun.   (author’s note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 12, 2011

ISBN: 978-1-58246-353-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Tricycle

Review Posted Online: June 6, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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This companion piece to the other fairy tales Marcia Brown has interpreted (see Puss In Boots, 1952, p. 548 and others) has the smoothness of a good translation and a unique charm to her feathery light pictures. The pictures have been done in sunset colors and the spreads on each page as they illustrate the story have the cumulative effect of soft cloud banks. Gentle.

Pub Date: June 15, 1954

ISBN: 0684126761

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scribner

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1954

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