DEFIANT

GROWING UP IN THE JIM CROW SOUTH

Powerful testimony from a children’s literature legend.

Hudson enlightens young readers about his civil rights–era experiences that set the foundation for a lifelong commitment to fighting for justice.

Alongside his wife and business partner, Cheryl Willis Hudson, Hudson has been on a celebrated run delivering diverse texts for young readers. This memoir provides witness to the formative experiences that shaped him, beginning in Mansfield, Louisiana, one of many “small rural towns across the South that White people controlled virtually unimpeded,” where the Black community demonstrated how “creative, resilient, dedicated, tough, and loving they were.” Readers follow his journey through school, honing his writing skills and being mentored by great teachers. In a world rife with segregation and unequal resources, Hudson excels with his community’s support, becoming the first in his family to attend college. This is the mid-1960s, and his eyes are set on role models like trailblazer Thurgood Marshall. He’s transformed by the Black literature of Langston Hughes, Richard Wright, Ralph Ellison, Margaret Walker, and others and present to heed the call of rising student activism. Readers will be awed by what it means to find one’s purpose during a metamorphic time in history and contribute to progressive social change—then bring it all back home to those who set you flowing in the first place. Strong storytelling and significant cultural references shine throughout. This will be a powerful read alongside the contemporary, award-winning texts that the Hudsons have nurtured.

Powerful testimony from a children’s literature legend. (historical notes, sources, timeline) (Memoir. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12635-6

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

50 IMPRESSIVE KIDS AND THEIR AMAZING (AND TRUE!) STORIES

From the They Did What? series

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats.

Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory?

Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting “Swingkinder,” the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, “boy emperor of Rome,” though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: “Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity.” The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there’s motivational kindling on nearly every page.

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-751813-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

WOLFPACK (YOUNG READERS EDITION)

HOW YOUNG PEOPLE WILL FIND THEIR VOICE, UNITE THEIR PACK, AND CHANGE THE WORLD

A powerful resource for young people itching for change.

Soccer star and activist Wambach adapts Wolfpack (2019), her New York Times bestseller for adults, for a middle-grade audience.

YOU. ARE. THE. WOLVES.” That rallying cry, each word proudly occupying its own line on the page, neatly sums up the fierce determination Wambach demands of her audience. The original Wolfpack was an adaptation of the viral 2018 commencement speech she gave at Barnard College; in her own words, it was “a directive to unleash [the graduates’] individuality, unite the collective, and change the world.” This new adaption takes the themes of the original and recasts them in kid-friendly terms, the call to action feeling more relevant now than ever. With the exception of the introduction and closing remarks, each short chapter presents a new leadership philosophy, dishing out such timeless advice as “Be grateful and ambitious”; “Make failure your fuel”; “Champion each other”; and “Find your pack.” Chapters utilize “rules” as a framing device. The first page of each presents a generalized “old” and “new” rule pertaining to that chapter’s guiding principle, and each chapter closes with a “Call to the Wolfpack” that sums up those principles in more specific terms. Some parts of the book come across as somewhat quixotic or buzzword-heavy, but Wambach deftly mitigates much of the preachiness with a bluff, congenial tone and refreshing dashes of self-deprecating humor. Personal anecdotes help ground each of the philosophies in applicability, and myriad heavy issues are respectfully, yet simply broached.

A powerful resource for young people itching for change. (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-76686-1

Page Count: 112

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Aug. 31, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2020

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