Review: I Am the World by Charles R. Smith, Jr.

i am the world

I Am the World by Charles R. Smith, Jr.

In this book that combines verse and photography, children from around the world are celebrated.  The images and verse both speak to the wide diversity of people and cultures that make up our world.  At the same time, the universal aspects of children from all cultures are celebrated too, including their strength and spirit.  The combination of a simple and powerful poem and dynamic photographs make for a book that is just as vibrant as its subjects.

Smith is a Coretta Scott King Award winner and his photographs here speak to his skill.  He captures children mid-motion and often in full smile.  His photos are combined with a poem that is simple but also strong, offering subtle rhyme and incorporating enough culture-specific words that a glossary is offered at the end. 

Beautiful, warm and inclusive, this title is a celebration of children across the globe.  Appropriate for ages 6-8.

Reviewed from copy received from Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Review: Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough

miss moore thought otherwise

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough, illustrated by Debbie Atwell

Annie Carroll Moore grew up in Limerick, Maine in a time when girls were not encouraged to be opinionated but she had her own ideas.  Children in that time were also not allowed in libraries, especially not girls, because reading was not seen as important.  Annie had always loved stories and books and though she thought at one time of being a lawyer like her father, she decided to become a librarian.  She studied in New York City, living alone even though others thought it was dangerous.  Miss Moore became a children’s librarian at the Pratt Free Library, with a room designed just for children.  She had new ideas, of course, like letting children take books home and removing the large “SILENCE” signs from the libraries.  As her new ideas took hold, Miss Moore changed library service for children into what we love today.

Pinborough clearly admires Miss Moore and her gumption and willingness to approach problems with new ideas.  Miss Moore’s life work is detailed here but we also get to see to her personal life and the tragedies that marred it.  Perhaps my favorite piece is the ending, where Miss Moore retires in her own special way, on her own terms.  Don’t miss the author’s note with more information about Miss Moore as well as a couple of photographs of the woman herself.

The illustrations by Atwell have the rustic feel of folk art.  It is colorful, vibrant and lends the entire work a playfulness that is entirely appropriate to the subject. 

A celebration of one woman who changed the face of library service to children around the world, this book will be welcomed by librarians and children alike.  Appropriate for ages 6-8.

Reviewed from library copy.