An engaging tale of a boy’s spiritual awakening.

TELEGRAMAS AL CIELO/TELEGRAMS TO HEAVEN

LA INFANCIA DE MONSEÑOR ÓSCAR ARNULFO ROMERO/THE CHILDHOOD OF ARCHBISHOP ÓSCAR ARNULFO ROMERO

A bilingual picture book focuses on the childhood of Salvadoran Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero.

In easy-to-understand English and accurate translations of Spanish, this work revisits the events that solidified a Noble Peace Prize–nominated archbishop’s faith at a young age. As a boy growing up in Ciudad Barrios in El Salvador, Óscar works at the telegraph and post office. One day, Óscar asks his father how he can send a telegram to heaven. “Pray from your heart and you can send God all the messages you want,” his father says. Óscar also worships by playing his bamboo flute and reciting poetry. He wears his mother’s apron and walks through town pretending to be a priest, blessing children and pets alike. Though his father nudges him toward carpentry, Óscar can’t be dissuaded from his desire to be a man of the cloth. The book concludes with the realization of this dream when Óscar officiates at his first Mass in his hometown. (The author’s note discloses that, years later, Romero was assassinated during Mass in 1980.) Colato Laínez’s (¡Vámonos! Let’s Go!, 2016, etc.) story is straightforward and inspiring. He injects sufficient details into the heartwarming tale without slowing the narrative’s momentum. “When he wrote poems, his eyes would shine like stars. He read them in his best melodic voice, gesturing with his arms,” the author writes. The skillful illustrations by Hunt (Zhakanaka the Word, 2006) evoke Disney animation and add visual vibrancy to the story.

An engaging tale of a boy’s spiritual awakening.

Pub Date: Aug. 14, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9641203-2-7

Page Count: 31

Publisher: Luna's Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 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 worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering.

THE AMAZING AGE OF JOHN ROY LYNCH

An honestly told biography of an important politician whose name every American should know.

Published while the United States has its first African-American president, this story of John Roy Lynch, the first African-American speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives, lays bare the long and arduous path black Americans have walked to obtain equality. The title’s first three words—“The Amazing Age”—emphasize how many more freedoms African-Americans had during Reconstruction than for decades afterward. Barton and Tate do not shy away from honest depictions of slavery, floggings, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow laws, or the various means of intimidation that whites employed to prevent blacks from voting and living lives equal to those of whites. Like President Barack Obama, Lynch was of biracial descent; born to an enslaved mother and an Irish father, he did not know hard labor until his slave mistress asked him a question that he answered honestly. Freed by the Emancipation Proclamation, Lynch had a long and varied career that points to his resilience and perseverance. Tate’s bright watercolor illustrations often belie the harshness of what takes place within them; though this sometimes creates a visual conflict, it may also make the book more palatable for young readers unaware of the violence African-Americans have suffered than fully graphic images would. A historical note, timeline, author’s and illustrator’s notes, bibliography and map are appended.

A picture book worth reading about a historical figure worth remembering. (Picture book biography. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5379-0

Page Count: 50

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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