Beautiful and engaging, this book will inspire readers to find out more.



An introduction to the childhood of the creator of the noblest literary knight of all time.

Miguel de Cervantes y Saavedra is to Spanish literature what William Shakespeare is to English literature and is best known as the creator of Don Quixote, the brave knight whose idealism and perseverance have made him an enduring character for the past 500 years. In this account written in free verse, Engle weaves fact together with fiction to tell the story of young Miguel de Cervantes. Cervantes’ childhood was one of hardship, as his father’s gambling debts constantly put the family on the financial edge, and of instability, as the family kept moving, always one step ahead of its creditors. Could the seeds of the brave knight’s deeds have been sown in Cervantes’ childhood? Engle imagines young Miguel retreating into his imagination: “But when I close my eyes, / the spark of a story flares up. / A tale about a brave knight / who will ride out on / a strong horse / and right / all the wrongs / of this confusing / world.” Colón’s stunning pen-and-ink–and-watercolor illustrations add dimension and life to the story, depicting an olive-skinned cast of Renaissance Spaniards and aging Miguel from round-faced boy to lanky young man.

Beautiful and engaging, this book will inspire readers to find out more. (author’s, illustrator’s, historical, biographical, literary notes) (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-56145-856-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Peachtree

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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An outstanding contribution to the recent spate of reminders that women too helped send men to the moon.



Who would have guessed from standard-issue histories of the space race that the spacesuits worn on the moon were largely the work of women employed by the manufacturer of Playtex bras and lines of baby wear?

Here, in a profile that laudably focuses on her subject’s unusual skills, dedicated work ethic, and uncommon attention to detail rather than her gender or family life, Donald takes Eleanor “Ellie” Foraker from childhood fascination with needle and thread to work at ILC Dover, then on to the team that created the safe, flexible A7L spacesuit—beating out firms of military designers and engineers to win a NASA competition. Though the author clearly attempts to steer clear of sexist language, she still leaves Foraker and her co-workers dubbed “seamstresses” throughout and “engineer” rather unfairly (all so designated presenting male here) defined in the glossary as “someone who designs and makes things.” Still, her descriptions of the suit’s concepts and construction are clear and specific enough to give readers a real appreciation for the technical challenges that were faced and solved. Landy gives the figures in her cleanly drawn illustrations individual features along with period hair and clothing, varying skin tones so that though most are white, at least two are women of color.

An outstanding contribution to the recent spate of reminders that women too helped send men to the moon. (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: June 18, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-84886-415-3

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Maverick Publishing

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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A candid introduction to a little-known figure in Jewish American history.


The successful business life and subsequent philanthropy of one of early America’s wealthiest and most pious Jews are recounted in a picture-book biography.

Raised by his uncle, Isaac Hays, a founder of Boston’s first bank, Judah learned much about shipping, real estate, and trade before setting off on his own at the dawn of the 19th century. A quiet, private man, Judah made his fortune in New Orleans trading New England products. After being wounded during the War of 1812, Judah began to concentrate on putting his wealth toward charitable causes. Simply drawn illustrations in muted brown, gray, and blue hues have both a childlike feel and the look of crayons or colored pencil in combination with watercolor; this results in a humble view not often seen in representations of New Orleans and appropriately reflects the story’s themes. The easy-flowing narrative tells how this son of a rabbi in a Sephardic immigrant family adhered to the Jewish tradition of giving inconspicuously, to causes both local and all over the world, hoping to avoid recognition for his good deeds. Some of these were paying for the freedom of enslaved African Americans, a few of whom are included in one illustration alongside the pale-skinned Judah. The author’s notes provide some added information about the benefactor’s family and his legacy.

A candid introduction to a little-known figure in Jewish American history. (Picture book/biography. 7-9)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-4561-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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