cover image Benito Juárez Fights for Justice

Benito Juárez Fights for Justice

Beatriz Gutierrez Hernandez. Holt/Godwin, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-2502-5777-2

Told in the subject’s fictionalized voice, this present-tense picture book biography of political reformer Benito Juárez (1806–1872) focuses on fluidly rendered touchpoints in his life. Living with his farmer uncle in San Pablo Guelatao and learning Zapotec, orphaned Juárez learns that “this land of charm... is also home to rejected and forgotten families.” After running away to Oaxaca, he studies at the city’s Institute of Arts and Sciences, becomes a lawyer, and marries Margarita Maza. Upon entering politics, he is approached by Indigenous people from his hometown, and subsequently works to “build roads, found schools, and open hospitals.” Political upheaval and reversals follow, yet Juárez perseveres, keeping his obligation to his people in mind. Alongside richly saturated, digitally rendered illustrations in tones of gold, green, and mauve, formal prose by Gutierrez Hernandez focuses on Juárez’s movements and those of his wife and children, but a lack of dates can make the narrative feel unanchored. An author’s note and bibliography conclude. Characters are portrayed with varying skin tones. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)