An engaging profile of an inspiring civil rights hero whom readers will enjoy learning about and cheering for.

BECAUSE CLAUDETTE

On March 2, 1955, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin stood up to racism and segregation in Montgomery, Alabama.

The African American teen’s unwillingness to give up her seat on a bus to a White person, months before Rosa Parks famously did the same, led to her arrest. Her lawyer, Fred Gray, arranged for Parks to meet with Colvin, and the two became friends. At Parks’ behest, Colvin joined the NAACP and spent evenings at Parks’ home when the group’s youth meetings ran late. Because they considered her a troublemaker, Colvin’s classmates ostracized her. She was one of five plaintiffs in a federal court case that challenged Montgomery’s discriminatory bus laws and one of the many people who mobilized to demand positive change. The Montgomery Bus Boycott began on Dec. 5, 1955, and by Dec. 21, 1956, anyone could sit wherever they chose on Montgomery’s public buses. This approachable biography of the young activist highlights her bravery, commitment, and vulnerability. Young readers will appreciate learning about a regular kid who did something extraordinary. The acrylic and oil illustrations are vivid and eye-catching, re-creating the period well and capturing its atmosphere. The backmatter includes an author’s note and a brief list of books for further reading. Most characters are Black; a few supporting characters are White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An engaging profile of an inspiring civil rights hero whom readers will enjoy learning about and cheering for. (Picture-book biography. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 18, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-32640-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2022

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A lovely 20th-anniversary tribute to the towers and all who perished—and survived.

SURVIVOR TREE

A remarkable tree stands where the twin towers of the World Trade Center once soared.

Through simple, tender text, readers learn the life-affirming story of a Callery pear tree that grew and today still flourishes “at the foot of the towers.” The author eloquently describes the pre-9/11 life of the “Survivor Tree” and its heartening, nearly decadelong journey to renewal following its recovery from the wreckage of the towers’ destruction. By tracking the tree’s journey through the natural cycle of seasonal changes and colors after it was found beneath “the blackened remains,” she tells how, after replanting and with loving care (at a nursery in the Bronx), the tree managed miraculously to flourish again. Retransplanted at the Sept. 11 memorial, it valiantly stands today, a symbol of new life and resilience. Hazy, delicate watercolor-and–colored pencil artwork powerfully traces the tree’s existence before and after the towers’ collapse; early pages include several snapshotlike insets capturing people enjoying the outdoors through the seasons. Scenes depicting the towers’ ruins are aptly somber yet hopeful, as they show the crushed tree still defiantly alive. The vivid changes that new seasons introduce are lovingly presented, reminding readers that life unceasingly renews itself. Many paintings are cast in a rosy glow, symbolizing that even the worst disasters can bring forth hope. People depicted are racially diverse. Backmatter material includes additional facts about the tree.

A lovely 20th-anniversary tribute to the towers and all who perished—and survived. (author's note, artist's note) (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-48767-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2021

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THE FANTASTIC UNDERSEA LIFE OF JACQUES COUSTEAU

This second early biography of Cousteau in a year echoes Jennifer Berne’s Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau (2008), illustrated by Eric Puybaret, in offering visuals that are more fanciful than informational, but also complements it with a focus less on the early life of the explorer and eco-activist than on his later inventions and achievements. In full-bleed scenes that are often segmented and kaleidoscopic, Yaccarino sets his hook-nosed subject amid shoals of Impressionistic fish and other marine images, rendered in multiple layers of thinly applied, imaginatively colored paint. His customarily sharp, geometric lines take on the wavy translucence of undersea shapes with a little bit of help from the airbrush. Along with tracing Cousteau’s undersea career from his first, life-changing, pair of goggles and the later aqualung to his minisub Sea Flea, the author pays tribute to his revolutionary film and TV work, and his later efforts to call attention to the effects of pollution. Cousteau’s enduring fascination with the sea comes through clearly, and can’t help sparking similar feelings in readers. (chronology, source list) (Picture book/biography. 6-8)

Pub Date: March 24, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-375-85573-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2009

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