Light, graceful, and accessible in both words and pictures.

UNDER THE BODHI TREE

A STORY OF THE BUDDHA

The life of Prince Siddhartha Gautama, who became the Buddha, is told in this picture book.

Using simple phrases in a pleasing, steady cadence that flows restfully, author Hopkinson tells the story of the Buddha for young readers. Born Prince Siddhartha Gautama in ancient India, he spent his childhood in his father’s palace in protected luxury, since his father did not want him to experience anything painful or unhappy. But eventually Siddhartha wanted to see what was outside the palace walls, so, yielding to his son’s requests, his father let him visit the city, where he had ordered the mayor to hold a festival. Despite these precautions, Siddhartha wandered off and saw hardship and pain—an experience that left him determined to find a way to set people free from suffering. Hopkinson inserts variations on the phrase “just like you” into the narrative at key moments, thereby connecting the ancient story to the feelings and longings readers may experience—an effective device that makes the story relevant and applicable to today. Illustrator Whitman’s gracious double-page spreads mirror the text, featuring plenty of white space and a soothing, light palette. She often uses white lines, rather than dark, to delineate the pictures, which has the effect of imbuing the illustrations overall with light—enhancing the enlightenment theme of the story.

Light, graceful, and accessible in both words and pictures. (Informational picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68364-153-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sounds True

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston...

BEFORE SHE WAS HARRIET

A memorable, lyrical reverse-chronological walk through the life of an American icon.

In free verse, Cline-Ransome narrates the life of Harriet Tubman, starting and ending with a train ride Tubman takes as an old woman. “But before wrinkles formed / and her eyes failed,” Tubman could walk tirelessly under a starlit sky. Cline-Ransome then describes the array of roles Tubman played throughout her life, including suffragist, abolitionist, Union spy, and conductor on the Underground Railroad. By framing the story around a literal train ride, the Ransomes juxtapose the privilege of traveling by rail against Harriet’s earlier modes of travel, when she repeatedly ran for her life. Racism still abounds, however, for she rides in a segregated train. While the text introduces readers to the details of Tubman’s life, Ransome’s use of watercolor—such a striking departure from his oil illustrations in many of his other picture books—reveals Tubman’s humanity, determination, drive, and hope. Ransome’s lavishly detailed and expansive double-page spreads situate young readers in each time and place as the text takes them further into the past.

A picture book more than worthy of sharing the shelf with Alan Schroeder and Jerry Pinkney’s Minty (1996) and Carole Boston Weatherford and Kadir Nelson’s Moses (2006). (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2047-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 7, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more