A searching picture of a pioneering social crusader.

THE TRAVELING CAMERA

LEWIS HINE AND THE FIGHT TO END CHILD LABOR

A tribute to the self-taught photographer who sparked real reform by turning faceless masses of abused workers into children with names and histories.

Incorporating Hine’s voice and some of his actual words (signaled with italics) into her free-verse monologue, Hinrichs highlights both his purposes—“I want to show their hard work / their hard lives” and also “their spirit. Because / the human spirit / is the big thing / after all”—and his methods of getting past suspicious factory overseers and of connecting with child workers in settings from cranberry bogs and canneries to coal mines. Garland’s harmoniously toned painted images of a slender, deceptively inoffensive-looking White figure using an awkward box camera to take pictures of solemn children, most but not all White, with downcast eyes and patchy period clothes meld gradually toward the end into Hine’s actual work (he called them “Hineographs”). More than 30 in all, they appear in a gallery that goes to the rear endpapers and are accompanied by a prose recap that downplays but at least mentions his quaint views on gender roles plus the fact that he took relatively few pictures of Black children and almost none of Asians. Russell Freedman’s Kids At Work (1994) explores his life and legacy in greater detail, but there’s enough here to leave even younger readers moved by his mission and his timeless portraits.

A searching picture of a pioneering social crusader. (chronology, source list, endnotes) (Picture book/biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-947440-06-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Getty Publications

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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Apart from the peculiar posthumous narration, a useful addition to the artist-biography shelf.

I AM VINCENT VAN GOGH

This Spanish import describes well-known events in van Gogh’s career

Readers first see him as a child and then as an assistant in his uncle’s art dealership, followed by a brief spell as a minister, during which he witnessed and drew mining families living in terrible poverty. Constantly dogged by disapproval and humiliation in the provincial towns, the painter moved to Paris. Here he was exposed to contemporary art movements that were central to the evolution of his distinctive style. His removal to the Arles countryside, the inspiration for many of his most famous works; his complicated friendship with Gauguin; and his eventual descent into madness and suicide are described and illustrated with García’s soft watercolor illustrations and a few reproductions. Sidebars provide background information about art movements, places, and people that influenced van Gogh. The entire book, including the concluding timeline, is in the first person. This is potentially confusing for children who have a limited understanding of chronology. Some of the statements seem particularly jarring owing to this choice of narrative voice. The timeline states: “in a moment of despair, [I] shot myself in the chest. Two days later, I died.” It will be obvious to most readers that he could not be writing when dead, and this adds a layer of absurdity that derails the otherwise factual tone.

Apart from the peculiar posthumous narration, a useful addition to the artist-biography shelf. (list of paintings, websites) (Biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-59572-770-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Star Bright

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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An optimistic if somewhat superficial tale of persevering and thriving with a disability.

ZION UNMATCHED

Clark, who was born without legs, presents snapshots of his journey from foster child to talented athlete.

After being given up at birth, Clark experienced abuse and neglect in foster care. Fortunately, at 17, he was adopted. His adoptive mother, “a woman of great faith,” encouraged him to succeed: “If they’re going to look at you, make sure they remember your name.” And succeed he did, becoming an elite high school wrestler and an Ohio state champion in seated racing. Vivid color photos depict Clark wrestling nondisabled opponents and racing via wheelchair and handcycle. Accenting the photos, bold, uppercase quotes from family members and coaches affirm his talent and determination. An early foster mother encourages him to “fly.” His high school track coach remarks, “After coaching Zion, I no longer have any excuses in my life”—a sentiment echoed by the stark “NO EXCUSES” tattoo spanning Clark’s shoulders. Though readers will appreciate Clark’s advice to “work with what you got,” his clichéd suggestion that “you just have to follow your dreams” falls flat; kids may find themselves wanting more information. How did he adapt his wrestling technique? How did he cope with the “dual stigma of Blackness and disability”? Without concrete examples, readers struggling with similar challenges may find his assertion that “if I can do it, so can you” frustrating rather than inspiring.

An optimistic if somewhat superficial tale of persevering and thriving with a disability. (Picture book/memoir. 8-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5362-2418-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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