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News & Reviews

My Grandfather's American Journey



Norton Young Readers

(pub.10.18.2022) 56 pages

Author and Illustrator: Katie Yamasaki

Character: Minoru Yamasaki


"Minoru Yamasaki described the feeling he sought to create in his buildings as “serenity, surprise, and delight.” Here, Katie Yamasaki charts his life and work: his childhood in Seattle’s Japanese immigrant community, paying his way through college working in Alaska’s notorious salmon canneries, his success in architectural school, and the transformative structures he imagined and built. A Japanese American man who faced brutal anti-Asian racism in post–World War II America and an outsider to the architectural establishment, he nonetheless left his mark on the world, from the American Midwest to New York City, Asia, and the Middle East."

Tantalizing taste:

" His work grew, his name grew. The pressure upon him, that grew too.

He made mistakes and had regrets that would take time to fully understand.

People he worked with didn't always agree or share his vision.

Things didn't always work out the way he planned.

But so often, Yama found his way.

Bringing the outside work in.

Letting the sun shine through ceiling, illuminating shapes.

The reflecting water of a still pool quieting a busy mind.

So one might sit, in peace."

And something more: Katie Yamasaki, in the Author's Note, explains that "Prior to the year of his graduation, the [University of Washington] had always awarded the top students a scholarship to study at the Society of Beaux Arts in Paris, but that yer it canceled the scholarship so as not to grant it to Minoru. Greatly upset by this act, Tsuenjiro took the family on a trip to Japan that they could barely afford. The architecture and aesthetic of Japan impacted Minoru greatly. The exchange between the natural world and human-made structure remained with him and became a foundational principle in his own work."

The True Story of A Remarkable Friendship



Scholastic Press

Published June 2022 40 pages

Author: Andrea Davis Pinkney

Illustrator: Keith Henry Brown

Characters: Tybre Faw and John Lewis


"When young Tybre Faw discovers John Lewis and his heroic march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in the fight for voting rights, Tybre is determined to meet him. Tybre’s two grandmothers take him on the seven-hour drive to Selma, Alabama, where Lewis invites Tybre to join him in the annual memorial walk across the Bridge. And so begins a most amazing friendship!"

Tantalizing taste:

" When you're a kid from

Johnson City, Tennessee,

home to the Tweetsie Trail

and a lake called Boone,

when you're a kid

growing up

in the days of Black Lives Matter,

you know the power of hope

that glistens at sunrise.

Tybre's grandmothers know it, too.

They pour all their hopes

into that child's future.

In their eyes, he is the light

that shines on tomorrow,

while his brilliance flickers today."

And something more: At the back of the book, the Two Journeys, One Dream essay explains: "After a moving and magical meeting with the congressman, and joining him for the walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge on that day in 2018, Tybre stayed friends with John. Tybre quickly dove into activism. He marched for school safety, human rights, immigrant equality, and any other cause he believed was worth fighting for ...

Congressman John Lewis died on July 17, 2020 ... Tybre, now twelve years old, was invited to recite the congressman's favorite poem, 'Invictus,' by William Ernest Henley.

Tybre finished by saying, 'John Lewis was my hero, my friend. Let's honor him by getting in good trouble.'"

How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion



Dial Books for Young Readers

(Penguin Random House)

Published April 2022 40 pages

Author: Shannon Stocker

Illustrator: Devon Holzwarth

Character: Evelyn Glennie


"From the moment Evelyn Glennie heard her first note, music held her heart. She played the piano by ear at age eight, and the clarinet by age ten. But soon, the nerves in her ears began to deteriorate, and Evelyn was told that, as a deaf girl, she could never be a musician.

What sounds Evelyn couldn’t hear with her ears, though, she could feel resonate through her body as if she, herself, were a drum. And the music she created was extraordinary. Evelyn Glennie had learned how to listen in a new way. And soon, the world was listening too."

Tantalizing taste:

" She listened to the buzz of the wide world around her.

VROOM! Distant trucks zoomed by.

Evelyn's legs listened, hum, hum, humming with the rattle of the road.

WAH-WAH-WAH. Muffled voices muttered through an underwater fog.

Evelyn's eyes listened, turning murmurs into words.

Thrum hum-hum-hum

Evelyn became so sensitive to each vibration that she could tune an instrument based only on where she felt the vibrations in her body."

And something more: Shannon Stocker, in the Author's Note, explains: "I was fortunate enough to talk with Evelyn many times, which allowed me to write a story that reflects her true experiences. During our discussion, I asked her what message she'd like young readers to hear. Her simple answer resonated: 'Create your own story,' she said. 'You cannot wait for things to happen to you. You must make your own opportunities.'

...She may not listen like a 'hearing' person, but she listens nonetheless. And now she's made it her mission to teach the world to listen too...

She has accepted more than one hundred international awards and honorary doctorates including two Grammy Awards..."

Where to find Jeanne Walker Harvey books

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