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News & Reviews

Updated: 3 hours ago

The Story of Singer, Songwriter, Activist Jean Ritchie A TRUE TALE WITH

A CHERRY ON TOP


Reycraft Books

(pub.8.17.2021) 32 pages

Author: Shannon Hitchcock

Illustrator: Sophie Page

Character: Jean Ritchie

Overview: "This lyrical picture book biography of songwriter and activist Jean Ritchie-Singer traces her life from the Cumberland Mountains of Kentucky to New York City and beyond as her protest songs inspired a nation " Tantalizing taste:


"Jean grew up like a sapling, and life in the Cumberland Mountains began to change.


Rumbling cars replaced rambling walks.

The roar of radios replaced the strum of strings.


A heavy feeling hung over the hills.

Jean wished she could turn back time.


Her brothers and sisters left home one by one.

Finally, it was Jean's turn to go...


Jean's singing inspired other people to raise their voices, too.

Activists solemnly sang 'The Cool of the Day' at their protest rallies.

Jean sang it to throngs of people at the Concert for the Mountains

in New York City."


And something more: Publishers Weekly provides a review of SHE SANG FOR THE MOUNTAINS: "Introduced to folk singers cum protestors—sketched portraits bear the names of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Carl Sandburg, and Doc Watson—by a Library of Congress song collector, Ritchie takes up protest songwriting to oppose coal mining. Hitchcock uses gently melodious, alliterative prose... Earthy, dimensional collage art by Page underlines the story’s themes with its organic, handmade feel. A hearty portrait of the 'Mother of Folk,' emphasizing the belief that music can create change."

How A Boy from Brooklyn Became America's Doctor


A TRUE TALE WITH

A CHERRY ON TOP


(Simon & Schuster)

(pub.6.29.2021) 48 pages

Author: Kate Messner

Illustrator: Alexandra Bye

Character: Dr. Anthony Fauci

Overview: "Before he was Dr. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci was a curious boy in Brooklyn, delivering prescriptions from his father’s pharmacy on his blue Schwinn bicycle. His father and immigrant grandfather taught Anthony to ask questions, consider all the data, and never give up—and Anthony’s ability to stay curious and to communicate with people would serve him his entire life.


This engaging narrative, which draws from interviews the author did with Dr. Fauci himself, follows Anthony from his Brooklyn beginnings through medical school and his challenging role working with seven US presidents to tackle some of the biggest public health challenges of the past fifty years, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Extensive back matter rounds out Dr. Fauci’s story with a timeline, recommended reading, a full spread of facts about vaccines and how they work, and Dr. Fauci’s own tips for future scientists."

Tantalizing taste:

"In high school Anthony realized he wanted to be a doctor. He went to college and got a summer job working construction to help pay for his tuition. When the crew was building a new library for the Cornell medical college in New York City, Anthony snuck inside to peek at the grand auditorium. What would it be like to learn in such an extraordinary place?


Then a guard showed up. Anthony's work boots were tracking mud all over the floor! Anthony told the guard that he was going to attend medical school there in a year. The guard laughed and asked him to leave. So Anthony left ... but not for long.


He attended that medical school and graduated first in his class. Now he was Dr. Fauci!"


And something more:

The "Are Vaccines Safe?" section in the back matter shares: "Did you know ... when you roll up your sleeve for a vaccine, it doesn't protect only you? By boosting your immune system to fight disease, you also help to make sure you won't spread germs to your family, friends, or community. Getting a vaccine makes you a disease-fighting superhero!"


And Kate Messner's book dedication for DR. FAUCI recognizes superheroes during this pandemic:


"For all the scientists, health care professionals, first responders, and essential workers,

Thank you.

And for the scientists and problem-solvers of tomorrow,

Dream big."

A Story Inspired by "Somewhere Over the Rainbow /

What a Wonderful World"

A TRUE TALE WITH

A CHERRY ON TOP


Cameron Kids/Abrams

(pub.10.6.2020) 32 pages

Author: Alexandria Giardino

Illustrator: Penelope Dullaghan

Character: Inspired by songs sung by Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole

Overview: "The day the baby boy was born, on a beautiful Hawaiian island, the world sang him a lullaby. What a good song. But what is the good song? The boy listens for it and finds it in his heart and shares it with the world. Inspired by the medley of the classic songs 'Over the Rainbow' and 'What a Wonderful World' sung by Hawaiian singer Israel Kamakawiwo‘ole, the good song is aloha—love." Tantalizing taste:


"After dinner, everyone played music together.

Their songs filled the night, along with the wind,

the rain, and the waves.


'This is aloha,' Grandpa said. 'This is love.'


Iz wanted to join in.

He strummed Uncle Moe Keale's old ukulele.

It was held together with bubble gum, but Iz didn't care."


And something more: THE GOOD SONG was a finalist for the 2020 NCBR Young Children's Literature Award.


Alexandria Giardino suggests podcasts to support Native Hawaiian storytellers: nativestories.org; hawaiipeoplesfund.org; nativeseedpod.org


And the author donates a portion of proceeds to a Hawaiian medical clinic that IZ long supported: Waianae Coast Comprehensive Health Center.

Where to find Jeanne Walker Harvey books

Jeanne has reviewed over 170 picture book biographies here and

previously on her blog  titled  TRUE TALES

& A CHERRY ON TOP.