Another volume to enrich every household, school, and library and inspire another generation of dreamers.

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LITTLE DREAMERS

VISIONARY WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD

This illustrated collection of diverse biographies profiles women from around the world and throughout history who dreamed big and then lived those dreams.

Using the same winning format as her beloved first volume, Little Leaders (2017), Harrison expands her focus. In chronological order and spread by spread, from philanthropist Fatima Al-Fihri of ninth-century North Africa to contemporary artist and architect Maya Lin, each “dreamer” is presented, with a page of text about her youth, her environment, and her accomplishments facing a full-page portrait. The portraits feature cherubic faces (with eyes always closed), clothing and objects representing the woman being honored, and a background that reflects her achievements. A few familiar names (Marie Curie, Frida Kahlo) are included among many that will be new to readers, such as Esther Afua Ocloo, an entrepreneur from Ghana, and Asima Chatterjee, an organic chemist from India. The thread that ties them together is their pursuit of opportunities to use their talents even when the world they were born into wasn’t ready for them. While the book’s flawless design matches that of Little Leaders, the reading level is higher, perhaps because many of the women led intellectual pursuits and so may be less easily explained. Still, readers who value science and discovery as much as art and activism will be delighted to find this follow-up volume. Eighteen further figures are briefly profiled before the backmatter.

Another volume to enrich every household, school, and library and inspire another generation of dreamers. (further resources, sources, glossary) (Collective biography. 9-13)

Pub Date: Nov. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-316-47517-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

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A detail-rich picture book best for readers who enjoy nonfiction and are interested in history or science.

COUNTING THE STARS

THE STORY OF KATHERINE JOHNSON, NASA MATHEMATICIAN

This biography of renowned mathematician Katherine Johnson featuring illustrations by Colón aims for elementary-age readers.

Cline-Ransome (Finding Langston, 2018, etc.) traces Johnson’s love of math, curiosity about the world, and studiousness from her early entry to school through her help sending a man into space as a human computer at NASA. The text is detailed and lengthy, between one and four paragraphs of fairly small text on each spread. Many biographies of black achievers during segregation focus on society’s limits and the subject’s determination to reach beyond them. This book takes a subtler approach, mentioning segregation only once (at her new work assignment, “she ignored the stares and the COLORED GIRLS signs on the bathroom door and the segregated cafeteria”) and the glass ceiling for women twice in a factual tone as potential obstacles that did not stop Johnson. Her work is described in the context of the space race, which helps to clarify the importance of her role. Colón’s signature soft, textured illustrations evoke the time period and Johnson’s feeling of wonder about the world, expressed in the refrain, “Why? What? How?” The text moves slowly and demands a fairly high comprehension level (e.g., “it was the job of these women computers to double-check the engineers’ data, develop complex equations, and analyze the numbers”). An author’s note repeats much of the text, adding quotes from Johnson and more details about her more recent recognition.

A detail-rich picture book best for readers who enjoy nonfiction and are interested in history or science. (Picture book/biography. 9-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0475-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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QUEER HEROES

Fashion blogger Sicardi introduces readers to 52 queer heroes from around the world.

The book’s survey of diverse individuals should be applauded. Commendable ranges of ages, ethnicities, genders, professions, and time periods are covered. However, the book’s downfall begins with the sparseness of information offered about each subject. Each entry includes a name, a date range and birthplace, a few scant paragraphs, a stylized portrait, and nothing else. For example, while the joint entry on Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson covers their friendship and work with homeless LGBTQIAP youth in New York City, it makes no mention of Rivera’s historic 1973 speech regarding homophobia and transphobia within the LGBTQIAP community. That was kind of a big deal. Likewise, David Bowie is praised for his music, but mention of his infamous 1983 Rolling Stone article, in which he identified as heterosexual, is absent. (In fairness, the title could refer to heroes of queer people.) The book’s other major deficit is its disorder. The subjects are arranged arbitrarily, without a table of contents or an index. There is no further reading section and no bibliographies for references. A haphazard two-page glossary exists (thankfully in alphabetical order), but that’s it. The book has some merit as a brief introduction to people readers may not have heard of but doesn’t have the follow-through necessary to lead them to further discoveries.

Save your money. (Biography. 9-12)

Pub Date: May 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-476-2

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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