Inspiring and healing as it educates, this volume belongs beside its companion on every bookshelf.

LITTLE LEGENDS

EXCEPTIONAL MEN IN BLACK HISTORY

Harrison celebrated black women of note in Little Leaders (2017); here, with an assist from Johnson, she presents a companion volume of profiles from black history, this one focusing on black men.

This is a book many have been waiting for, and it does not disappoint. The winning formula that endeared Little Leaders to readers is employed again here: One page of biographical text faces a full-page portrait of a young-looking figure with a serenely smiling brown face with closed eyes. The figure’s clothing and the background setting design represent his field of contribution. The text begins with each leader’s early life and is held together with a thread showing how the leader found an interest, learned and improved, worked hard, and made his work matter in the lives of others. Ordered chronologically, the names include well-known figures such as Frederick Douglass, Alvin Ailey, and Prince, but there are also many lesser-known names, such as historian Arturo Schomburg and astronaut Leland Melvin. Included also are international legends, such as Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembène and British Ghanaian architect Sir David Adjaye. Whereas hairstyling details created an illusion of visual variation in Little Leaders, here the uniformity of the portraits’ faces is more pronounced—yet this allows readers to see that a black boy can play at and ultimately grow into any one of these roles. A “Draw Your Own Little Legend” spread at the end invites readers into Harrison’s creative process.

Inspiring and healing as it educates, this volume belongs beside its companion on every bookshelf. (further bios, further reading, sources) (Collective biography. 7-12)

Pub Date: Nov. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-47514-3

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal.

JUST LIKE JESSE OWENS

Before growing up to become a major figure in the civil rights movement, a boy finds a role model.

Buffing up a childhood tale told by her renowned father, Young Shelton describes how young Andrew saw scary men marching in his New Orleans neighborhood (“It sounded like they were yelling ‘Hi, Hitler!’ ”). In response to his questions, his father took him to see a newsreel of Jesse Owens (“a runner who looked like me”) triumphing in the 1936 Olympics. “Racism is a sickness,” his father tells him. “We’ve got to help folks like that.” How? “Well, you can start by just being the best person you can be,” his father replies. “It’s what you do that counts.” In James’ hazy chalk pastels, Andrew joins racially diverse playmates (including a White child with an Irish accent proudly displaying the nickel he got from his aunt as a bribe to stop playing with “those Colored boys”) in tag and other games, playing catch with his dad, sitting in the midst of a cheering crowd in the local theater’s segregated balcony, and finally visualizing himself pelting down a track alongside his new hero—“head up, back straight, eyes focused,” as a thematically repeated line has it, on the finish line. An afterword by Young Shelton explains that she retold this story, told to her many times growing up, drawing from conversations with Young and from her own research; family photos are also included. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A pivotal moment in a child’s life, at once stirring and authentically personal. (illustrator’s note) (Autobiographical picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-545-55465-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2022

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Involving from "the end of my lovely world" to the end of exile (when the Rudomins, as Jews, were jeered in Poland), this is...

THE ENDLESS STEPPE

GROWING UP IN SIBERIA

To Esther Rudomin at eleven Siberia meant the metaphor: isolation, criminals and cruel punishment, snow and wolves; but even in Siberia there is satisfaction from making a friend of a prickly classmate, from seeing a Deanna Durbin movie four times, from earning and studying and eventually belonging.

Especially in Siberia, where not wolves but hunger and dirt and cold are endemic, where shabbiness and overcrowding are taken for granted, where unselfishness is exceptional. At the heart of Mrs. Hautzig's memoir of four years as a Polish deportee in Russia during World War II is not only hardihood and adaptability but uniquely a girl like any other. Abruptly seized in their comfortable home in Vilna, Esther and her family, are shipped in cattle cars to Rubtsovsk in the Altai Territory, work as slave laborers in a gypsum mine until amnesty, then are "permitted" lobs and lodging in the village--if someone will take them in. After sleeping on the floor, a wooden platform is very welcome; after sharing a room with two other families, a separate dung hut seems a homestead. Then Esther goes to school, the greatest boon, and, to her mother's horror, wants to be like the Siberians....Deprivation does not make Esther grim: the saddest day of her life is her father's departure for a labor brigade at the front, her sharpest bitterness is for the bland viciousness of individuals.

Involving from "the end of my lovely world" to the end of exile (when the Rudomins, as Jews, were jeered in Poland), this is a beautiful book with no bar to wide acceptance (and a rich non-juvenile jacket by Nonny Hogrogian). (Memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: April 15, 1968

ISBN: 978-0-06-447027-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: T.Y. Crowell

Review Posted Online: Sept. 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1968

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