An ideal vehicle to engage children in a discussion on the meanings of poverty, having enough, and social justice.

THE WORLD'S POOREST PRESIDENT SPEAKS OUT

A picture book imported from Japan and based on a speech given by José Mujica, president of Uruguay, at the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

In June 2012, the United Nations brought governments, international institutions, and major groups together to agree on a range of measures that would bring about sustainable and fair use of resources. When it came time for the president of Uruguay to speak, he presented the problem of sustainability and climate change differently from previous speakers. Mujica posited that the real problem is not climate change but “how we have come to live our lives” in a vicious cycle “where we sell things to make money, which we use to buy whatever we want, and then buy some more.” He challenged listeners to consider whether “we were born…to pursue economic growth and progress [or rather] to live in such a way as to find happiness on this planet.” Mujica’s thought-provoking argument then is just as valid today. The illustrations accompanying the text play with design and perspective, capturing Mujica’s words in ways that give them great immediacy and vividness. This book is a translation from the original 2014 Japanese publication.

An ideal vehicle to engage children in a discussion on the meanings of poverty, having enough, and social justice. (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 18, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-59270-289-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Enchanted Lion Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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A worthy introduction to this master artist.

MORNINGS WITH MONET

Claude Monet spends an early morning in his “studio boat,” painting scenes of the Seine.

Rosenstock and GrandPré, who’ve amply demonstrated their ability to distill an artist’s work into a rich essence for young readers with biographies of Kandinsky, Van Gogh, and Chagall, now describe an imagined morning in the life of Monet, a founding impressionist. Here, the painter, now rich and famous, sets off to work at 3:30 a.m. In her respectful narrative, the writer’s word choice is precise and revealing. Monet “clambers aboard” his boat and counts his canvases in French: “un, deux, trois, quatre.” Rosenstock describes his working process, “painting the river’s colors, and the air around the colors,” and she weaves in some historical background. GrandPré’s illustrations, painted with acrylics, support and enhance the text. Readers see an older White man with a lush white beard and the “broad belly” and “sturdy legs” of the text. Toward the end, one particularly appealing spread shows Monet’s tools—the canvas, the palette, the brushes—and the artist, satisfied with his morning’s work. The colors are astonishing: from the bright aquamarine of the cover, the faintly violet dawn, the pinks, yellows, and oranges of the sunlight, and the tea-colored interiors. Always, there are brush strokes of other colors visible. An informative author’s note extends the artist’s biography, but the picture of his life painted in this single encounter is sufficient. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 63% of actual size.)

A worthy introduction to this master artist. (sources, acknowledgments) (Informational picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: March 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-70817-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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