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Five questions for Andrea Davis Pinkney

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A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and the Creation of the Snowy Day (Viking, 7–9 years) by Andrea Davis Pinkney is a loving tribute to an iconic picture-book character, Peter — one of the first African American children in picture books — and his creator, Ezra Jack Keats, author and illustrator […]

Dreaming big

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As a child, I loved reading biographies of famous women. I wanted strong, nuanced, and passionate women to look up to, and I found them throughout history. They were writers, politicians, explorers, and so much more, and learning about them allowed me to imagine a broad future for myself. The Little People, Big Dreams primary […]

Review of A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and 
the Creation of The Snowy Day

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A Poem for Peter: The Story of Ezra Jack Keats and 
the Creation of The Snowy Day by Andrea Davis Pinkney; illus. by 
Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson Primary, Intermediate    Viking    56 pp. 11/16    978-0-425-28768-2    $18.99 In evocative verse, Pinkney presents a picture book biography of Ezra Jack Keats, creator of the children’s classic The […]

Review of Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy

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Fascinating: The Life of Leonard Nimoy by Richard Michelson; 
illus. by Edel Rodriguez Primary    Knopf    40 pp. 9/16    978-1-101-93330-5    $17.99 Library ed.  978-1-101-93331-2    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-1-101-93332-9    $10.99 Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song” reminds us: “You can spin a dreidel / with Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock — both Jewish!” Michelson delves a little deeper […]

Review of Antsy Ansel: Ansel Adams, a Life in Nature

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Antsy Ansel: Ansel Adams, a Life in Nature by Cindy Jenson-Elliott; illus. by Christy Hale Primary    Ottaviano/Holt    32 pp. 9/16    978-1-62779-082-6    $17.99 This peppy picture book biography of nature photographer Ansel Adams describes an “antsy” young boy whose propensity to get into trouble was allayed only by being in the great outdoors. Sonorous language, including […]

Review of Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist

Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist

Esquivel!: Space-Age Sound Artist by Susan Wood; illus. by Duncan Tonatiuh Primary, Intermediate    Charlesbridge    32 pp. 9/16    978-1-58089-673-3    $17.95 e-book ed.  978-1-60734-825-2    $9.99 Growing up in Mexico, Juan Garcia Esquivel got an earful of mariachi, but he wanted to create his own sound. Self-taught and persistent, he was playing piano at a radio station at […]

Recommended Picture Books: Picture Book Biographies

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Barton, Chris  Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions Gr. K–3     40 pp.     Charlesbridge Illustrated by Don Tate. Barton follows African American inventor Johnson, from his childhood tinkering through winning first place at a 1968 science fair, attending Tuskegee Institute, engineering for NASA, and developing a super-blast water gun. Barton describes Johnson’s ups and downs […]

Javaka Steptoe on Radiant Child

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In our November/December 2016 issue, reviewer Lolly Robinson spoke with author/illustrator Javaka Steptoe about his personal connection to the subject of new biography Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Read the full starred review. Lolly Robinson: You and your father, John Steptoe, were both artists in NYC when Basquiat was working. Did […]

Review of Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat

Radiant Child

Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat by Javaka Steptoe; illus. by the author Primary    Little, Brown    40 pp. 10/16    978-0-316-21388-2    $17.99 Picture books about artists are tricky. Should the illustrator mimic the subject’s style, or instead attempt to capture his or her essence? Steptoe does a little of both in this introduction […]

Trailblazers in the arts

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The following books highlight groundbreaking figures in the arts and society at large: a beloved author of children’s books and witty (and useful) works for adults; a folksinger who stood strong for his beliefs; a graffiti artist turned fine artist; and a little-known turn-of-the-twentieth-century female magician. In Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White, […]