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Maya Angelou (Little People, Big Dreams) Hardcover – August 9, 2016
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From School Library Journal
Gr 1–3—Very simple biographies introduce famous women to young readers. Each selection highlights the accomplishments of its subject but does not go into detail. The lack of specificity, however, makes difficult topics more manageable for a child audience. In Maya Angelou, for example, the text says that Maya's mother's boyfriend "attacked her" and as a result Maya did not speak for five years. A significant event in Angelou's life is included but in an age-appropriate way. The illustration style for each book is different and seems chosen to suit the subject. In Maya Angelou, cartoon-style images appear strong and solid, reflecting Angelou's determination to overcome obstacles in her life. Amelia Earhart employs an airier, less representational art style that matches Earhart's sense of adventure and mystery. Observant readers will find small jokes, such as in a suburban scene in Earhart where most houses have a car parked alongside but one house has a rocket ship. Back matter includes photographs and a few more details about the topic person. The books are factual, without invented dialogue, but no sources are listed. Briticisms appear in Earhart, with terms such as learnt rather than learned. VERDICT These books serve as attractive overviews of the people profiled, but children will need further resources to get a full perspective of the subjects' lives.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
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We chose Maya Angelou because it's Black History Month, and though she is too little to understand I noticed while my 11yo and I discussed how slavery, abolition and all of Black history formed the country and its people and just how their history is also ours, her little ears were listening in and absorbing it all. Since we have mixed race family and friends, and have a high ratio of Hispanic students here, skin color really isn't something my kids ever have had to think about very much, so it kind of shocks them a bit (and should!) that not everyone is treated with the same respect and level of fairness. I want to be sure they all grow up knowing many things that were once considered hardships to overcome just don't matter....Skin color, place of origin, religion, gender, sexuality....none of these things determine how smart, kind, motivated, or loyal a person is.
The book is easy to understand, and the drawings are cute. It also briefly goes into some serious issues -such as racism, and I think it's a good opportunity to talk more about racism if they ask questions, and about the history of the civil rights movement.
Also, a great Segway into reading poems by Maya Angelou.