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News & Reviews

The Exceptional Life of Jackie Ormes



Orchard Books


(pub.1.3.2023) 48 pages

Author: Traci N. Todd

Illustrator: Shannon Wright

Character: Jackie Ormes


" Jackie Ormes made history. She was the first Black woman cartoonist to be nationally syndicated in the United States. She was also a journalist, fashionista, philanthropist, and activist, and she used her incredible talent and artistry to bring joy and hope to people everywhere. But in post-World War II America, Black people were still being denied their civil rights, and Jackie found herself in a dilemma: How could her art stay true to her signature 'Jackie joy' while remaining honest about the inequalities Black people had been fighting?"

Tantalizing taste:

" There is music in these panels, and not just from the characters who sing onstage. It's in the rhythm of Jackie's line, and in the quiet, mighty ways her characters confront prejudice and fear."

And something more: Shannon Wright, in A Note from the Artist writes: "The beauty this story brings is to be celebrated because, while it does come with its fair share of heartaches and obstacles, so much joy and happiness sprang from Jackie's hands and touched people's lives in her day, and that joy can still be felt now… As an artist, I celebrate a woman who opened a door for me that might not have otherwise existed - a door that I plan to keep open as the next generation makes their way through it."

How Favio Chavez Taught Children

to Make Music From Trash



Eerdman's Books for Young Readers

(pub.10.25.2022) 44 pages

Author: Carmen Oliver

Illustrator: Luisa Uribe

Character: Favio Chavez


" In Cateura, Paraguay, a town built on a landfill, music teacher Favio Chavez longed to help the families living and working amid the hills of trash. How could he help them find hope for the future? Favio started giving music lessons to Cateura’s children, but soon he encountered a serious problem. He had more students than instruments!

But Favio had a strange and wonderful idea: what if this recyclers’ town had its own recycled orchestra? Favio and Colá, a brilliant local carpenter, began to experiment with transforming garbage into wonder. Old glue canisters became violins; paint cans became violas; drainpipes became flutes and saxophones. With repurposed instruments in their hands, the children of Cateura could fill their community—and the world—with the sounds of a better tomorrow."

Tantalizing taste:

" In a vacated school yard, Fabio taught thirty children how to play their recycled instruments, and how to read music... During the rainy season, they shuffled into the deserted classrooms, and Favio conducted. They practiced and practiced and practiced. Finally, the time came to perform for their parents, who had never heard the children play... Parents shed happy tears."

And something more: The back matter of the book states that "Today, the orchestra has performed in many countries including Argentina, Canada, Spain, Brazil, Japan, and the United States... In April 2018, the Recycled Orchestra of Cateura participated in a charity concert in Spain and earned money to help build a community health center in Banado Sur. The orchestra has also worked to bring more art and culture into the area with mosaics splashed on building walls...They work to make connections between different worlds and improve the lives of those who live and breathe and make music in Paraguay. As Favio has said: 'Music is the bridge.'"

How Lotte Reiniger and

a Pair of Scissors

Revolutionized Animation



Greenwillow Books

(HarperCollins Publishers)

(pub.1.24.2023) 40 pages

Author: C.E. Winters

Illustrator: Matt Schu

Character: Lotte Reiniger


" Long before Walt Disney, a young woman revolutionized the landscape of animation using light, a pair of scissors, and her imagination.

In the 1920s, when young women had limited opportunities, Lotte Reiniger used her curiosity and ingenuity to change the landscape of animation forever. Inspired by the films of her youth, and encouraged by teachers and mentors working in film at the time, Lotte Reiniger honed her skills in cutting out paper silhouettes to use in stop-motion animation.

Eventually, her talent and her drive led her to invent the multiplane camera, which allowed her to give her animation depth of field. With her small team, Lotte designed and directed the oldest full-length animated film in existence."

Tantalizing taste:

"Lotte would make approximately sixty silhouette films over the course of her long life... She created every single one of those films using a pair of scissors, a great deal of patience, and her talented hands. Her trailblazing ideas and silhouette style influence filmmakers and artists to this day."

And something more: C.E. Winters in the Author's Note explains that "My hope in writing this book is to bring Lotte Reiniger out from the shadows of history to set the record straight about her contributions to the field of animation, and to inspire young artists and inventors to let their imaginations soar well beyond traditional limits - just as Lotte did."

Where to find Jeanne Walker Harvey books

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