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Pi Day 2019

Today is Pi Day (get it? March 14? 3/14? 3.14…?). To celebrate, here are two recent picture books about pie (and sharing and social justice and community and…). March being Women’s History Month, check out these two recommended booklists about women in STEM and computing; this Notes from the Horn Book piece highlighting Strong women making an impact 2019; and this excellent new list of recent Picture-book biographies of pioneering women 2019.

Pie Is for Sharing
by Stephanie Parsley Ledyard; 

illus. by Jason Chin
Preschool, Primary    Porter/Roaring Brook    32 pp.
5/18    978-1-62672-562-1    $17.99

This idyllic, joyously inclusive picture book takes an ordinary concept — 
sharing — and makes it extraordinary. A boy and his family bike to a lakeside picnic, bearing several homemade pies. Then the text begins: “Pie is for sharing.” Turning the pages, we are introduced to more shareable things, such as jump ropes and books; and things shared less tangibly, such as rhymes and time. As Ledyard’s text (simple and child-focused, with overtones of A Hole Is to Dig) continues to muse on the nature of sharing, Chin’s detailed watercolor and gouache pictures take us through the sunny day at the lake, mostly centering on the experiences of the boy and his little sister but expanding to include a host of others. Kids climb trees, build sandcastles, throw sticks for the dog; the little sister scrapes her knee and requires a hug and multiple, creatively applied bandages. (Yes, there’s humor in these tender illustrations.) Shadows lengthen, and the reader begins to realize that this picnic isn’t a random event: it’s a Fourth of July celebration. As the community gathers on blankets, ready to watch the fireworks, Chin zeroes in on the faces, and as different as they are from one another — a true diversity of races and genders and ages — they share the same rapt expression. “Many can share one light,” says the text, poignantly. “And a blanket? A breeze? The sky? These are for sharing.” MARTHA V. PARRAVANO

From the May/June 2018 Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: Making a Difference.

Pies from Nowhere: How Georgia Gilmore Sustained the Montgomery Bus Boycott
by Dee Romito; illus. by Laura Freeman
Primary    Little Bee    40 pp.    g
11/18    978-1-4998-0720-2    $17.99

This lively picture book tells the story of an unsung hero of the 1955–1956 Montgomery Bus Boycott, in which African Americans protested segregation after the arrest of Rosa Parks by refusing to ride city buses. Georgia Gilmore led a group of women who raised money by making and selling food — prepared lunches and dinners, pies and cakes — the proceeds of which they donated to the boycott’s funders. The women operated in secret — if their identities or those of their customers were made public, they’d lose their jobs — and so became known as the Club from Nowhere. Gilmore’s donations were vital to sustaining the boycott and providing African Americans alternatives to the buses — enabling the purchase of cars, repairs, and gas. Romito tells the story clearly, including many details about the operation of the club and incorporating occasional quotes in Gilmore’s own voice (referring to civil rights leaders’ habit of gathering at her house for meals and meetings: “I just served ’em and let ’em talk”). Freeman (illustrator of Fancy Party Gowns, rev. 1/17) portrays Gilmore as a woman full of spirit, pride, and determination; her “big personality” shines through. The book’s emphasis on how small actions can make a big difference is age-appropriate, nicely geared to a primary-grade audience. An author’s note provides more information about the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the Club from Nowhere, and Gilmore; the back matter also includes source notes and a recipe (on the endpapers) for “Georgia Gilmore’s Homemade Pound Cake.” MARTHA V. PARRAVANO

From the November/December 2018 Horn Book Magazine.

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