A richly layered, powerful introduction to an entrepreneur and the problems he solved.



Enter the world of Victor Hugo Green and his famous Green Book for Black travelers.

Green delivered mail in Leonia, New Jersey, even after moving to Harlem with his wife, Alma. During the Great Depression, new highways and turnpikes and newly inexpensive car models were driving more families to own cars. Black travelers had extra stress and danger to worry about when traveling through unfamiliar, often hostile terrain. Black-owned newspapers and word of mouth kept them informed on how to stay safe. Green “got busy problem-solving,” gathering information from people and publications into one guide, the Green Book, which started in 1936 as a pamphlet covering New York City and neighboring towns and grew steadily to cover the entire nation. The story extends beyond Green’s death in 1960 to end on the hopeful note of the civil rights legislation Green had hoped for, when, with the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, discrimination related to transportation services was outlawed. Bolden’s bold, strong, conversational prose sets the scene, representing courageous, talented Black people strategizing to keep their dignity in an unfair world. With his signature painterly art, Velasquez beautifully brings to life settings, families, and communities through varied compositions and scrapbook-style pages. Text and illustrations incorporate primary source documents—maps, advertisements, excerpts from newspapers—that add to the authentic feel. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A richly layered, powerful introduction to an entrepreneur and the problems he solved. (timeline, more information on Victor Hugo Green, notes, selected sources, websites) (Picture-book biography. 4-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-296740-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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Lovely illustrations wasted on this misguided project.


From the Celebrate the World series

The Celebrate the World series spotlights Lunar New Year.

This board book blends expository text and first-person-plural narrative, introducing readers to the holiday. Chau’s distinctive, finely textured watercolor paintings add depth, transitioning smoothly from a grand cityscape to the dining room table, from fantasies of the past to dumplings of the present. The text attempts to provide a broad look at the subject, including other names for the celebration, related cosmology, and historical background, as well as a more-personal discussion of traditions and practices. Yet it’s never clear who the narrator is—while the narrative indicates the existence of some consistent, monolithic group who participates in specific rituals of celebration (“Before the new year celebrations begin, we clean our homes—and ourselves!”), the illustrations depict different people in every image. Indeed, observances of Lunar New Year are as diverse as the people who celebrate it, which neither the text nor the images—all of the people appear to be Asian—fully acknowledges. Also unclear is the book’s intended audience. With large blocks of explication on every spread, it is entirely unappealing for the board-book set, and the format may make it equally unattractive to an older, more appropriate audience. Still, readers may appreciate seeing an important celebration warmly and vibrantly portrayed.

Lovely illustrations wasted on this misguided project. (Board book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3303-8

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Little Simon/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Dec. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40.


From two Nobel Peace Prize winners, an invitation to look past sadness and loneliness to the joy that surrounds us.

Bobbing in the wake of 2016’s heavyweight Book of Joy (2016), this brief but buoyant address to young readers offers an earnest insight: “If you just focus on the thing that is making / you sad, then the sadness is all you see. / But if you look around, you will / see that joy is everywhere.” López expands the simply delivered proposal in fresh and lyrical ways—beginning with paired scenes of the authors as solitary children growing up in very different circumstances on (as they put it) “opposite sides of the world,” then meeting as young friends bonded by streams of rainbow bunting and going on to share their exuberantly hued joy with a group of dancers diverse in terms of age, race, culture, and locale while urging readers to do the same. Though on the whole this comes off as a bit bland (the banter and hilarity that characterized the authors’ recorded interchanges are absent here) and their advice just to look away from the sad things may seem facile in view of what too many children are inescapably faced with, still, it’s hard to imagine anyone in the world more qualified to deliver such a message than these two. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-48423-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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