The Métis visionary never fully comes to life in this book.

CUTHBERT GRANT

An illustrated biography of an early-19th-century Métis leader.

Alas, a fascinating life does not make a fascinating read in this book about Cuthbert Grant (1793-1854), mixed-race son of a Scottish fur-trader father and Métis mother. Author Lindstrom (Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe Indians) presents Grant here as a man ahead of his time due to his combined Indigenous and Western education. With a foot in both worlds, he gains influence in powerful business circles and rises to help his people through the creation of a Métis town known as Grantown in the wake of laws that prevented them from hunting the buffalo. Notably, the story positions him as loyal to the fur trade. He is a champion of the Métis and protector of the hunt, though his reasoning goes beyond tradition to commercial concerns. The frequently digressive text mentions both the death of his father and the tragic disappearance of his wife and child with flat language that does little to invest readers. The battles and wars are mentioned in passing, and little attention is given to the competing value systems of the era. If Grant was passionate, conflicted, or angry, readers do not feel it. Illustrator Woods (Long Plain First Nation) gives this dryly factual biography all of its color, combining the occasional photo with vivid, textured paintings. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-22.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22% of actual size.)

The Métis visionary never fully comes to life in this book. (author's note, bibliography) (Biography. 8-12)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4788-6866-8

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Reycraft Books

Review Posted Online: Sept. 29, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Inspirational but occasionally unclear.

JUST LIKE ME

Gooding's debut profiles 40 famous people with disabilities.

The author, a mother of children with disabilities, opens the book with a note about her desire to find role models for her children. To that end, she alphabetically introduces racially diverse disabled people from around the world and throughout history. Diagnoses range from autism to limb difference. Historical figures include Japanese peace advocate Sadako Sasaki, who developed leukemia after the bombing of Hiroshima, and American abolitionist Harriet Tubman, who led fellow slaves to freedom despite epilepsy. Contemporary figures include athletes, authors, and entertainers: Polio survivor and Paralympian Malathi Krishnamurthy-Holla remains "one of the fastest female Indian athletes in a wheelchair"; Japanese nonverbal author Naoki Higashida penned popular books describing autism; English actor Daniel Radcliffe deals with dyspraxia, a coordination disorder; and Australian Madeline Stuart is the first professional model with Down syndrome. Each profile begins with an uplifting quote and concludes with a sidebar explaining the subject’s disability. Unfortunately, some sidebars emphasize colloquial over scientific terms. For instance, Stephen Hawking’s disability is named eponymously (Lou Gehrig's disease), “also known as ALS,” instead of with its scientific name, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Occasionally, vague phrasing creates confusion, such as when the author writes that a speech-generating device enabled Hawking to communicate by using a “touchpad.” (A hand clicker became his primary input method.) Various illustrators’ realistic renditions of smiling subjects complement the upbeat (albeit somewhat dry) text.

Inspirational but occasionally unclear. (glossary, quote sources) (Collective biography. 8-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-78741-848-6

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Bonnier/Trafalgar

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

Good for aspiring writers and artists.

OUR STORY BEGINS

YOUR FAVORITE AUTHORS AND ILLUSTRATORS SHARE FUN, INSPIRING, AND OCCASIONALLY RIDICULOUS THINGS THEY WROTE AND DREW AS KIDS

Twenty-six notable authors and illustrators of children’s books—including the book’s editor—introduce themselves via their childhood memories.

The short, straightforward introduction begins with the editor sharing her inspiration for the book: reading through her oldest writings, stored in “a box in a basement,” and reflecting that other creators have similar boxes. Two years of interviewing, collecting, and collating produced the accessible, enjoyable text that follows. Each creator shares a childhood photograph, a brief memoir, a short biography, and a photographed sample of a creative work from childhood. The order of presentation is determined by the age at which the creative work was accomplished, ranging from 7 to 16. The art and writing samples from childhood are occasionally exciting but more often typical of the age represented—and thus encouraging rather than intimidating to young creatives. The memoirs—all (unsurprisingly) engaging—range from humorous to serious, and some slip in good advice, both about the tools of the craft and about self-marketing. There is a wide diversity of ages and backgrounds, from Phyllis Reynolds Naylor to Alex Gino, from Eric Rohmann to Rita Williams-Garcia. Thanhhà Lai is especially memorable; as a Vietnamese refugee, she had no box of writings: “But it turns out, I don’t need tangible objects. I have my memories.” Her recollection of an oral prose poem from age 8 is one that stands out because it is indeed remarkable for one so young.

Good for aspiring writers and artists. (Collective memoir. 8-12)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7208-1

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more