Zoboi’s poetic retrospective breathes life into Black history narratives and reverently celebrates Black lives.

THE PEOPLE REMEMBER

A lyrical history of African American life that also explicates the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

Opening with Africans from many ethnic groups being ripped from their homelands in the midst of births, deaths, storytelling, and other daily occurrences, this immaculately illustrated picture book walks through a vast swath of history. This includes the Atlantic slave trade, the plight and escape of enslaved people, emancipation, northern migration, faith journeys, and more, ending with the Movement for Black Lives. Zoboi’s lyrical free verse, with occasional subtle rhymes, always speaks boldly about the lives, trials, and successes of African American people. The refrain the people remember emphasizes how memories are passed down from one generation to the next, be they positive or otherwise. Figures like Mami Wata center Africa and the African diaspora—necessary for explaining the Kwanzaa principles within the narrative. Wise’s humans, somewhat reminiscent of Jacob Lawrence’s, feel big and expansive in proportion to their surroundings, representing the outsized impact African Americans have had on United States history and culture, whether acknowledged or not. Rich, deeply saturated illustrations cover every page and show how integral African Americans have been to the creation and growth of the arts. Extensive backmatter will ground readers in the facts and spark interest for further research. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Zoboi’s poetic retrospective breathes life into Black history narratives and reverently celebrates Black lives. (author's note, timeline, further reading) (Picture book. 7-adult)

Pub Date: Sept. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-291564-1

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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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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A likable journey that is sensitive to the triumphs and agonies of being a 13-year-old girl.

FRIENDS FOREVER

From the Friends series , Vol. 3

Shannon just wants to get through eighth grade in one piece—while feeling like her own worst enemy.

In this third entry in popular author for young people Hale’s graphic memoir series, the young, sensitive overachiever is crushed by expectations: to be cool but loyal to her tightknit and dramatic friend group, a top student but not a nerd, attractive to boys but true to her ideals. As events in Shannon’s life begin to overwhelm her, she works toward finding a way to love and understand herself, follow her passions for theater and writing, and ignore her cruel inner voice. Capturing the visceral embarrassments of middle school in 1987 Salt Lake City, Shannon’s emotions are vivid and often excruciating. In particular, the social norms of a church-oriented family are clearly addressed, and religion is shown as being both a comfort and a struggle for Shannon. While the text is sometimes in danger of spelling things out a little too neatly and obviously, the emotional honesty and sincerity drawn from Hale’s own life win out. Pham’s artwork is vibrant and appealing, with stylistic changes for Shannon’s imaginings and the leeching out of color and use of creative panel structures as her anxiety and depression worsen.

A likable journey that is sensitive to the triumphs and agonies of being a 13-year-old girl. (author's note, gallery) (Graphic memoir. 10-14)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-31755-1

Page Count: 320

Publisher: First Second

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

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