As beautiful as it is informative about this little-known battle in the fight for equality.

TWO GROOMS ON A CAKE

THE STORY OF AMERICA'S FIRST GAY WEDDING

The first legal gay marriage in the U.S. was held in…1971.

The two groom figurines on the top of the cake at the first legal same-sex wedding celebration narrate the story of Jack and Michael, who met in 1966. The cake-topping grooms compare the creation of the cake they will stand on to the growing relationship of the couple and then to their struggle to get a marriage license, which includes law school, a name change (from Jack to the gender-neutral Pat), and a solo visit to City Hall for the license (for Michael). The cake is finished; the license is granted. Michael and Jack celebrate their wedding…but the battle for equality is far from over. Fifty years on, the couple is even more in love, and finally LGBTQ+ couples can marry in all 50 states. Sanders tells the tale in easy-to-understand language, sweet as the frosting on the cake, and leaves the bulk of the details for the comprehensive backmatter: author’s note, marriage equality timeline, photographs of Jack and Michael as young and older men, and a well-rounded bibliography. Cathro’s whimsical, retro-feeling illustrations on cream-colored paper show the cake toppers assisting in the creation of the cake as their human counterparts work for the right to marry. Both cake toppers and human grooms present White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

As beautiful as it is informative about this little-known battle in the fight for equality. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4998-0956-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little Bee Books

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few...

WHAT'S THE BIG DEAL ABOUT FREEDOM

Shamir offers an investigation of the foundations of freedoms in the United States via its founding documents, as well as movements and individuals who had great impacts on shaping and reshaping those institutions.

The opening pages of this picture book get off to a wobbly start with comments such as “You know that feeling you get…when you see a wide open field that you can run through without worrying about traffic or cars? That’s freedom.” But as the book progresses, Shamir slowly steadies the craft toward that wide-open field of freedom. She notes the many obvious-to-us-now exclusivities that the founding political documents embodied—that the entitled, white, male authors did not extend freedom to enslaved African-Americans, Native Americans, and women—and encourages readers to learn to exercise vigilance and foresight. The gradual inclusion of these left-behind people paints a modestly rosy picture of their circumstances today, and the text seems to give up on explaining how Native Americans continue to be left behind. Still, a vital part of what makes freedom daunting is its constant motion, and that is ably expressed. Numerous boxed tidbits give substance to the bigger political picture. Who were the abolitionists and the suffragists, what were the Montgomery bus boycott and the “Uprising of 20,000”? Faulkner’s artwork conveys settings and emotions quite well, and his drawing of Ruby Bridges is about as darling as it gets. A helpful timeline and bibliography appear as endnotes.

A reasonably solid grounding in constitutional rights, their flexibility, lacunae, and hard-won corrections, despite a few misfires. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: May 2, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-399-54728-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing.

WRITE! WRITE! WRITE!

Both technique and imaginative impulse can be found in this useful selection of poems about the literary art.

Starting with the essentials of the English language, the letters of “Our Alphabet,” the collection moves through 21 other poems of different types, meters, and rhyme schemes. This anthology has clear classroom applications, but it will also be enjoyed by individual readers who can pore carefully over playful illustrations filled with diverse children, butterflies, flowers, books, and pieces of writing. Tackling various parts of the writing process, from “How To Begin” through “Revision Is” to “Final Edit,” the poems also touch on some reasons for writing, like “Thank You Notes” and “Writing About Reading.” Some of the poems are funny, as in the quirky, four-line “If I Were an Octopus”: “I’d grab eight pencils. / All identical. / I’d fill eight notebooks. / One per tentacle.” An amusing undersea scene dominated by a smiling, orangy octopus fills this double-page spread. Some of the poems are more focused (and less lyrical) than others, such as “Final Edit” with its ending stanzas: “I check once more to guarantee / all is flawless as can be. / Careless errors will discredit / my hard work. / That’s why I edit. / But I don’t like it. / There I said it.” At least the poet tries for a little humor in those final lines.

Here’s hoping this will inspire many children to joyfully engage in writing. (Picture book/poetry. 7-10)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68437-362-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Dec. 18, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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