Giant Steps to Change the World by Spike Lee & Tonya Lewis Lee, illustrated by Sean Qualls
This is a book filled with inspiring people that show children that everyone has the ability to be a hero. The book contains examples of people who stood up for others, worked with a passion and vision, honored deep values, and led the world to a new place. Among the heroes on the pages are Langston Hughes, Harriet Tubman, Mother Teresa, and Neil Armstrong. It is a great mix of male and female and different races. The heroes will inspire young readers to take that first step to follow in the giant steps that their heroes left behind.
Qualls’ illustrations are amazing. Done in acrylic, gouache, pencil and collage, the images are bold and strong. Some are so powerful, they stay with you after closing the book, like the black and white image that represents Harriet Tubman and moves from dark to light. The illustrations have clear lines, deep colors, and convey the essence of that hero to great effect.
Unfortunately, the text written by the Lees is less successful. The heroes they have selected are an incredible group of people. It is the words themselves that fall flat, often being too verbose and roundabout for a children’s picture book. I was also disappointed that there was not a list of the heroes anywhere in the book with more information. Readers can look at the endpages of the book to see a quote from each hero, but no further details are given. That’s just not enough information for young readers.
An inspiring book despite some issues, this book would pair well with President Obama’s Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters. Appropriate for ages 7-9.
Reviewed from copy received from Simon & Schuster.