Andrea Davis Pinkney writes Ezra Jack Keats' biography as a tribute poem that begs to be read aloud. Illustrations by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson ecAndrea Davis Pinkney writes Ezra Jack Keats' biography as a tribute poem that begs to be read aloud. Illustrations by Lou Fancher and Steve Johnson echo Keats' style while telling a story of their own. Don't miss your chance to learn more about this artist who created the first mainstream book featuring an African American child....more
This is an engaging and informative biography. I knew next to nothing about E.B. White, and he seems to have been a consummate writer. Kids who enjoyeThis is an engaging and informative biography. I knew next to nothing about E.B. White, and he seems to have been a consummate writer. Kids who enjoyed Charlotte's Web as younguns will like reading more about its creation in particular. Budding writers will see just how many drafts it takes to get to what you see on a published page. Melissa Sweet's collage illustrations are little jewel-boxes of color and nature, and the excerpts from White's books in a typewriter font are a nice touch. Don't miss the letter where he tells a friend how to end a sentence with five (!) prepositions....more
This made a great book club discussion! Author Wes Moore can't forget a story he heard about a man the same age from his own Baltimore neighborhood, aThis made a great book club discussion! Author Wes Moore can't forget a story he heard about a man the same age from his own Baltimore neighborhood, also named Wes Moore, who is sentenced to life in prison. What made the difference in their two life trajectories? Moore interviews the other Wes Moore and many who were involved in both their lives. He wisely lets the reader do most of the comparing, and truth be told, there is no One Moment where you can point to one life diverging from the other. But people make a big difference: a support system of family and extended family can provide resources when individual resources are scarce.
There are a lot of ideas I will remember:
"Young boys are more likely to believe in themselves if they know that there's someone, somewhere, who shares that belief. To carry that belief alone is too much for most young shoulders. Tony had been overwhelmed by that load years ago."
"There was no official ceremony that brought my childhood to an end. Instead, crises or other circumstances presented me with adult-size responsibilities and obligations that I had to meet one way or another. For some boys, this happens later -- in their late teens or even twenties -- allowing them to grow organically into adulthood. But for some of us, the promotion to adulthood, or at least its challenges, is so jarring, so sudden, that we enter into it unprepared and might be undone by it."
"Boredom in teenage boys is a powerful motivation to create chaos."
"I had never seen a man, a peer, demand that much respect from his people...This was real respect, the kind you can't beat or scare out of people. That's when I started to understand that I was in a different environment. Not simply because I was in the middle of Pennsylvania instead of the Bronx or Baltimore. It was a different psychological environment, where my normal expectations were inverted, where leadership was honored and class clowns were ostracized."
"As I began to play against nationally ranked players at various tournaments and camps, I realized that the disparity between my potential and theirs was glaring...I realized that I had to make sure these schools knew my name regardless of what I did on the ninety feet of hardwood that had brought me to their attention."
"Wherever he stepped on campus, cadets snapped to attention. Every cadet possessed a burning desire to be recognized, but never noticed..."
"Maybe it was because he'd never thought long term about his life at all. Early losses condition you to believe that short-term plans are always smarter."
"The truth is that there are two Baltimores. Almost every other major city in this country leads the same double life. Those who brag about Baltimore often ignore these substandard areas."
"It made me think deeply about the way privilege and preference work in the world, and how many kids who didn't have 'luck' like mine in this instance would find themselves forever outside the ring of power and prestige. So many opportunities in this country are apportioned in this arbitrary and miserly way, distributed to those who already have the benefit of a privileged legacy."
"In both places [Baltimore and South Africa], young men go through a daily struggle trying to navigate their way through deadly streets, poverty, and the twin legacies of exclusion and low expectations...One of the key differences between the two was in the way their communities saw them. Here, burgeoning manhood was guided and celebrated through a rite of passage. At home, burgeoning manhood was a trigger for apprehension."...more
I'm fascinated by these illustrations which are both in the style of Rousseau, and simplified and narrative enough to tell the picture-book story of hI'm fascinated by these illustrations which are both in the style of Rousseau, and simplified and narrative enough to tell the picture-book story of his life. Don't miss the spread with famous people of his time at a party - there's a key in the back to identify them all....more
"Art is the street games of little children, in our style and the words that we speak. It is how the messy patchwork of the city creates new meaning f"Art is the street games of little children, in our style and the words that we speak. It is how the messy patchwork of the city creates new meaning for ordinary things." It is so important to have a picture-book biography of this young, of-our-era black artist. Javaka Steptoe creates many fine balances here. He notes Basquiat's mother's mental illness ("his mother's mind is not well, and the family breaks") in a way that isn't too scary but leaves discussion open. He shows the style and sense of his artwork without replicating it (Steptoe paints on found wood, dumpsters, and streets). It shows the excitement and grit of entering the modern art world as an outsider and leaves mention of Basquiat's drug addiction for the afterword. Art-wise, I especially like how Steptoe uses color outlines instead of black. Don't miss this vibrant, heartfelt book....more