A great introduction to an architect, a feminist, and a leader who showed the world the impossible. (Picture book/biography....

ZAHA HADID

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

An introduction for young readers focuses on the architect’s journey and how she became the “Queen of Curve.”

Readers are introduced to “little Zaha,” a “Muslim girl who lived with her family in Baghdad,” and learn that at 7 she was designing clothes. Sánchez Vegara leads readers through Zaha’s childhood and adulthood, covering her schooling, favorite subjects, and how she became the woman who experimented and dared to change architecture. Amar’s illustrations are simple, bright, and colorful, portraying Zaha in a space mostly occupied by men. Little details such as the letters “ZH” on construction helmets worn by men listening to Zaha’s project plan emphasize her role as a leader. When Sánchez Vegara points out that Zaha “changed the way that people thought about women—especially an Arab woman—in an industry run by men,” Amar dedicates a spread that draws attention to Zaha’s status with a wall of portraits of notable architects in which she is the only woman. Like other titles in the series, this one ends with more facts on Zaha and her family along with four black-and-white photos taken at different points in her life and suggested titles for further reading. Series companion Mary Shelley, also by Sánchez Vegara but illustrated by Yelena Bryksenkova, publishes simultaneously.

A great introduction to an architect, a feminist, and a leader who showed the world the impossible. (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-745-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 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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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

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