Imperfect but still lovely.

HOW TO BUILD A HUG

TEMPLE GRANDIN AND HER AMAZING SQUEEZE MACHINE

A picture book explores Temple Grandin’s first innovation, a personalized hug machine.

When she was a child, Temple Grandin couldn’t stand hugs. To her, they “felt like being stuffed inside the scratchiest sock in the world.” While she craved the comfort she saw others receiving from hugs, she found physical contact with others to be overstimulating and actively unpleasant. During one summer at her aunt’s ranch, she observed the squeeze chutes that ranchers used to calm cows during examinations and realized she could give it a try herself. She fashioned her own device out of wood and cushions, using a pulley to make it adjustable from within—all the comfort of a hug without the overstimulation! Guglielmo and Tourville present Grandin’s story with respect and enthusiasm. The narrative concludes when her machine breaks. “And she knew that only one thing could cheer her up: // A HUG.” A quote from Grandin concludes the text: “I’m into hugging people now.” While Grandin has become comfortable with hugs, it’s not totally clear how this has come to pass, and for some readers, this ending’s emphasis on neurotypical behavior may feel out of place. Potter’s watercolor illustrations are typical of her style, with flat faces (almost all of them white), realistic colors, and full-bleed spreads. An authors’ note provides more detailed background on Grandin’s life and work, and only here is it mentioned that Grandin is on the autism spectrum.

Imperfect but still lovely. (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1097-8

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images.

THURGOOD

The life journey of the first African American to serve on the United States Supreme Court and the incidents that formed him.

Thurgood Marshall grew up in segregated Baltimore, Maryland, with a family that encouraged him to stand for justice. Despite attending poor schools, he found a way to succeed. His father instilled in him a love of the law and encouraged him to argue like a lawyer during dinner conversations. His success in college meant he could go to law school, but the University of Maryland did not accept African American students. Instead, Marshall went to historically black Howard University, where he was mentored by civil rights lawyer Charles Houston. Marshall’s first major legal case was against the law school that denied him a place, and his success brought him to the attention of the NAACP and ultimately led to his work on the groundbreaking Brown v. Board of Education, which itself led to his appointment to the Supreme Court. This lively narrative serves as an introduction to the life of one of the country’s important civil rights figures. Important facts in Marshall’s life are effectively highlighted in an almost staccato fashion. The bold watercolor-and-collage illustrations, beginning with an enticing cover, capture and enhance the strong tone set by the words.

A larger-than-life subject is neatly captured in text and images. (author’s note, photos) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-6533-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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Informative yet optimistic, this cri du coeur from Planet Awesome deserves wide attention.

OUR PLANET! THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE EARTH

From the Our Universe series , Vol. 6

The sixth in McAnulty’s Our Universe series focuses on Earth’s human-caused problems, offering some family-level activities for mitigation.

Vivaciously narrated by “Planet Awesome,” the text establishes facts about how Earth’s location with regard to the sun allows life to flourish, the roles of the ocean and atmosphere, and the distinctions between weather and climate. McAnulty clearly explains how people have accelerated climate change “because so many human things need energy.” Soft-pedaling, she avoids overt indictment of fossil fuels: “Sometimes energy leads to dirty water, dirty land, and dirty air.” Dire changes are afoot: “Some land is flooding. Other land is too dry—and hot. YIKES! Not good.” “And when I’m in trouble, Earthlings are in trouble, too.” Litchfield’s engaging art adds important visual information where the perky text falls short. On one spread, a factory complex spews greenhouse gases in three plumes, each identified by the chemical symbols for carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. Throughout, planet Earth is appealingly represented with animated facial features and arms—one green, one blue. The palette brightens and darkens in sync with the text’s respective messages of hope and alarm. Final pages introduce alternative energy sources—wind, hydro, solar, and “human power—that’s from your own two feet.” Lastly, Earth provides excellent ideas for hyperlocal change, from buying less new stuff to planting trees. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Informative yet optimistic, this cri du coeur from Planet Awesome deserves wide attention. (author’s note, numerical facts, atmospheric facts, ideas for action, sources) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-250-78249-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Henry Holt

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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