A stellar introduction to an important and ongoing social issue.

MOTHER JONES AND HER ARMY OF MILL CHILDREN

Winter focuses on Mother Jones’ Children’s Crusade to introduce young readers to the history of protests against child labor.

“My name is Mother Jones and I’m MAD. And you’d be MAD, too, if you’d seen what I’ve seen.” Thus begins Mother Jones’ first-person narrative about her long career fighting child labor practices in the early 20th century. The first pages depict Mother Jones in front of smoky factories, in West Virginia coal mines, and in Philadelphia fabric mills, where white and brown children toil “for TEN HOURS STRAIGHT.” Her anger at what she saw led Mother Jones to organize the central event of the volume, a children’s march from Philadelphia to New York City to dramatize the plight of child laborers. The march proved unsuccessful, but was it a failure? “HECK, NO!” Mother Jones assures readers. But Winter is careful to have Mother Jones state on the penultimate page that “the wheels of justice grind slowly” and that it took 40 more years of work to get laws changed. His protagonist/subject speaks with fervor in a folksy idiom with the occasional dropped G and a great many capital letters. Carpenter depicts Jones as an apple-cheeked, silver-haired white woman in full-length black dress, white lace collar, and an aura of indestructibility. There is racial diversity among both child marchers and onlookers.

A stellar introduction to an important and ongoing social issue. (author’s note, photographs, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-9)

Pub Date: Feb. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-449-81291-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 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

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments.

SUPERHEROES ARE EVERYWHERE

The junior senator from California introduces family and friends as everyday superheroes.

The endpapers are covered with cascades of, mostly, early childhood snapshots (“This is me contemplating the future”—caregivers of toddlers will recognize that abstracted look). In between, Harris introduces heroes in her life who have shaped her character: her mom and dad, whose superpowers were, respectively, to make her feel special and brave; an older neighbor known for her kindness; grandparents in India and Jamaica who “[stood] up for what’s right” (albeit in unspecified ways); other relatives and a teacher who opened her awareness to a wider world; and finally iconic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley who “protected people by using the power of words and ideas” and whose examples inspired her to become a lawyer. “Heroes are…YOU!” she concludes, closing with a bulleted Hero Code and a timeline of her legal and political career that ends with her 2017 swearing-in as senator. In group scenes, some of the figures in the bright, simplistic digital illustrations have Asian features, some are in wheelchairs, nearly all are people of color. Almost all are smiling or grinning. Roe provides everyone identified as a role model with a cape and poses the author, who is seen at different ages wearing an identifying heart pin or decoration, next to each.

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984837-49-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more