Demonstrates that everyone’s voice matters and needs to be heard. Powerful stuff!

SHARICE'S BIG VOICE

A NATIVE KID BECOMES A CONGRESSWOMAN

A big personality with a voice to match, Sharice listens to her heart to find her own path.

In this autobiographical account, U.S. Rep. Sharice Davis shows how she’s always liked to talk and ask questions. She learned early that “good conversation can make people happy” and that “the best way to learn about people is to listen to them.” When Sharice’s mother told her that they were members of the Ho-Chunk nation, who call themselves “People of the Big Voice,” she knew she was on the right path. Sharice wanted to follow in her Army sergeant mother’s footsteps and be “a person who serves others,” so she worked hard at everything she did, excelling at customer service and perfecting martial arts training. Eventually this led her to law school and then to work with Native American tribes. “That’s when,” she tells readers, “I had a bold, brave idea that would need my big voice, my ability to listen, and my ability to take a punch.” Deciding that government needed many different voices, she ran for Congress and won the election, becoming one of the first Native women in Congress and the first lesbian to represent Kansas. Rich, vivid illustrations by Ojibwe Woodland artist Pawis-Steckley are delivered in a graphic style that honors Indigenous people. The bold artwork adds impact to the compelling text. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Demonstrates that everyone’s voice matters and needs to be heard. Powerful stuff! (author’s note, illustrator’s note, cultural note) (Picture book/memoir. 5-10)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-297966-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2021

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Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

MAYA ANGELOU

From the Little People, BIG DREAMS series

“There’s nothing I can’t be,” young Maya thinks, and then shows, in this profile for newly independent readers, imported from Spain.

The inspirational message is conveyed through a fine skein of biographical details. It begins with her birth in St. Louis and the prejudice she experienced growing up in a small Arkansas town and closes with her reading of a poem “about her favorite thing: hope” at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration. In between, it mentions the (unspecified) “attack” by her mother’s boyfriend and subsequent elective muteness she experienced as a child, as well as some of the varied pursuits that preceded her eventual decision to become a writer. Kaiser goes on in a closing spread to recap Angelou’s life and career, with dates, beneath a quartet of portrait photos. Salaberria’s simple illustrations, filled with brown-skinned figures, are more idealized than photorealistic, but, though only in the cover image do they make direct contact with readers’, Angelou’s huge eyes are an effective focal point in each scene. The message is similar in the co-published Amelia Earhart, written by Ma Isabel Sánchez Vegara (and also translated by Pitt), but the pictures are more fanciful as illustrator Mariadiamantes endows the aviator with a mane of incandescent orange hair and sends her flying westward (in contradiction of the text and history) on her final around-the-world flight.

Stirring encouragement for all “little people” with “big dreams.” (Picture book/biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: July 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-84780-889-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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A beautifully designed book that will resonate with children and the adults who wisely share it with them.

NELSON MANDELA

An inspirational ode to the life of the great South African leader by an award-winning author and illustrator.

Mandela’s has been a monumental life, a fact made clear on the front cover, which features an imposing, full-page portrait. The title is on the rear cover. His family gave him the Xhosa name Rolihlahla, but his schoolteacher called him Nelson. Later, he was sent to study with village elders who told him stories about his beautiful and fertile land, which was conquered by European settlers with more powerful weapons. Then came apartheid, and his protests, rallies and legal work for the cause of racial equality led to nearly 30 years of imprisonment followed at last by freedom for Mandela and for all South Africans. “The ancestors, / The people, / The world, / Celebrated.” Nelson’s writing is spare, poetic, and grounded in empathy and admiration. His oil paintings on birch plywood are muscular and powerful. Dramatic moments are captured in shifting perspectives; a whites-only beach is seen through a wide-angle lens, while faces behind bars and faces beaming in final victory are masterfully portrayed in close-up.

A beautifully designed book that will resonate with children and the adults who wisely share it with them. (author’s note, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 2, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-06-178374-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Nov. 19, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2012

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