NEYMAR

A SOCCER DREAM COME TRUE

From pretend soccer games with family members in his grandfather’s house to playing for the Brazilian national soccer team, this is the story of Neymar Jr., one of the world’s most valuable players.

From a very young age, Neymar Jr. feels a passion for soccer, a passion exemplified by the numerous soccer games he plays, both indoors with other family members or outdoors with his friends on the lawn, and the fact that he always carries a ball with him, including during family meals. His talent is soon spotted by a friend of the family who takes him under his wing to coach him, and the training finally pays off when Neymar Jr. joins a local team, Santos FC, and plays in the youth league. Neymar Jr.’s brilliance is such that he is invited to a trial with Real Madrid, but the experience is short-lived as he realizes how much he misses his family, his “real joy,” and decides, despite mounting criticism, to return to Brazil. He continues to progress with his team, with whom he wins major titles before finally signing up for European teams. Javaherbin’s free-flowing narrative in Neymar Jr.’s imagined first-person voice, coupled with Hoppe’s evocative, movement-filled illustrations, brings life to this athlete’s biography. A real page-turner, this book couldn’t have been released at a better time, a few months before the 2018 World Cup.

A gem. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: May 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-374-31066-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2018

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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 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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