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Bad Boys of Fashion: Style Rebels and Renegades Through the Ages

Jennifer Croll, illus. by Aneta Pacholska. Annick, $14.95 paper (184p) ISBN 978-1-77321-242-5

A companion to Bad Girls of Fashion focuses on the distinctive clothing styles of famed male figures in the arts, politics, sports, and fashion design. Organized with broad descriptive monikers, the style icons include Marlon Brando (“Fashion Macho”), and David Bowie (“Fashion Role-Player”), along with today’s influencers (David Beckham, Jean-Paul Gaultier). Croll includes examples of modern men dressed in the style of their forebears; Russell Brand mimics Oscar Wilde’s “dandy” style. Pacholska captures the men’s quintessential qualities through bold, eclectic digital portraits. Readers may be surprised by the inclusion of figures whose fashion choices may not seem among their chief accomplishments (Malcolm X’s suit and rimmed glasses), but Croll makes the case for how an individual’s look can become iconic due to the indelible impression left on public consciousness by their actions. Ages 12–up. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 05/24/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Stories for Kids Who Dare to Be Different: True Tales of Amazing People Who Stood Up and Stood Out

Ben Brooks, illus. by Quinton Winter. Running Press Kids, $16.99 (160p) ISBN 978-0-7624-6855-3

This follow-up to Stories for Boys Who Dare to Be Different takes a more gender-inclusive approach to telling the stories of groundbreaking figures. Brooks offers an eclectic, globe-spanning mix of individuals (arranged alphabetically by last name) from myriad professions and personal backgrounds. Among them are Riot Grrrl founders and band members of Bikini Kill; skateboarding champion Leticia Bufoni; and innovator and inventor Kelvin Doe, who made electricity from salvaged materials in Sierra Leone. Winter’s dramatic, graphic novel–reminiscent art provides narrative dimension to Brooks’s lively biographies, which serve to show readers that there are limitless ways to change the world. Ages 8–12. (May)

Reviewed on 05/24/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Groundbreaking Guys: 40 Men Who Became Great by Doing Good

Stephanie True Peters, illus. by Shamel Washington. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $16.99 (96p) ISBN 978-0-316-52941-9

Peters celebrates 40 men from across the globe who have strived to make the world a better place. Presented in chronological order, the subjects include figures of substantial fame and with significant presence on the public stage—President Barack Obama, Lin-Manuel Miranda—alongside individuals whose influence is of a more reserved nature (Bob Ross, host of The Joy of Painting). Others work to fight oppression, including Chinese diplomat Feng-Shan Ho, who helped Jewish people escape to Shanghai during WWII. Longtime pals Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, the late Anthony Bourdain, and Kendrick Lamar are among the famed figures of the media and entertainment worlds. Success isn’t measured by status or dollar signs, Peters notes. Instead, being “groundbreaking” is about the choices one makes to better the world. Ages 8–12. (June)

Reviewed on 05/24/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Heroism Begins with Her: Inspiring Stories of Bold, Brave, and Gutsy Women in the U.S. Military

Winifred Conkling, illus. by Julia Kuo. HarperCollins, $18.99 (240p) ISBN 978-0-06-284741-6

Conkling shares stories of women who served in the U.S. military from the Revolutionary War to the present. Biographies examine how each came to serve while providing historical context. Individuals include Cathay Williams, who grew up enslaved and was “the first known African American woman to dress as a man and enlist in the army,” and Army nurses Edith Ayres and Helen Wood, the first enlisted women to die in the line of duty during WWI. Individuals with behind-the-scenes roles include mathematician Grace Hopper, who invented a programming language, and African-American reverend Alice M. Henderson, the first female chaplain. Graphics include photographs and illustrated images of the women, along with occasional spot art. A focused look at the long history of women who served their country. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. (July)

Reviewed on 05/24/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Boy Oh Boy: From Boys to Men, Be Inspired by 30 Coming-of-Age Stories of Sportsmen, Artists, Politicians, Educators and Scientists

Cliff Leek, illus. by Bene Rohlmann. Wide Eyed Editions, $22.99 (64p) ISBN 978-1-78603-875-3

This volume puts a positive spin on adage “boys will be boys” by introducing 30 male public figures whose talents and accomplishments have earned them notoriety and admiration. The subjects—among them Ta-Nehisi Coates, Nelson Mandela, and Freddie Mercury—represent a broad spectrum of professions, eras, and backgrounds. Rohlmann creates portraits of each subject in a bold graphic style reminiscent of artful posters. Writing in a casual tone with candid detail, Leek includes a full page of biographical information for each individual (though the order in which the figures are presented feels haphazard). In an era when toxic masculinity is at the forefront of public discourse, this text provides a more expansive view of what people can aspire to be. Ages 7–up. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 05/24/2019 | Details & Permalink

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A Boy Like You

Frank Murphy, illus. by Kayla Harren. Sleeping Bear, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-5341-1046-5

“The world needs a boy like you,” Murphy writes assuredly as a boy is shown standing out from a variably diverse crowd. Encouraging readers to contribute positively to the world around them, Harren’s images show the boy sitting “with the new kid,” recycling a bottle, telling a passerby he’s dropped his wallet, and expressing himself in healthy ways (looking into adulthood, the boy imagines himself in different professions, including construction worker, artist, and teacher). Being brave means sometimes being afraid, Murphy asserts, and asking for help and not being afraid to cry are also signs of strength. The story is directed squarely at boys, but Harren’s illustrations show representations of all kinds of kids and families. Being a boy can mean many things, Murphy suggests, but being “a smart boy, a brave boy, a kind boy” are the first important steps toward manhood. Ages 6–7. (July)

Reviewed on 05/24/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Jacob’s Room to Choose

Sarah Hoffman and Ian Hoffman, illus. by Chris Case. Magination, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4338-3073-0

In this follow-up to Jacob’s New Dress, both the titular character, who wears a dress, and his friend Sophie, clad in a button-up plaid shirt and slacks, know which bathroom feels right. But Jacob is stared at in the boys’ bathroom, and Sophie has a similar experience in the girls’ room. Compassionate teacher Ms. Reeves is an ally; pointing to symbols representing a girl and a boy, she gently speaks to the whole class: “You know what? A lot of you don’t look like the signs.” The students set out to create new, inclusive bathroom signs: “I have to pee, so let me be!” one reads. Ms. Reeves just might be the real star in the story, as she models how limiting traditional views of gender can be. Case’s smudgy artwork shows the familiar trappings of a cozy library and the energy of an impromptu art project. In an authors’ note, the Hoffmans share their firsthand experience with their gender-nonconforming son. Ages 5–8. (May)

Reviewed on 05/24/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Dazzling Travis: A Story About Being Confident & Original

Hannah Carmona Dias, illus. by Brenda Figueroa. Cardinal Rule, $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-0-9976085-6-4

In cheery rhymes, Dias introduces Travis, a boy who likes dressing as a knight as much as dancing ballet: “Dresses and armor:/ Pink, black, or green./ I pretend I’m a knight,/ A king or a queen.” But while he’s confident, kids on the playground antagonize him about playing with a doll. Travis responds boldly: “I am who I am!/ There’s no boy and girl line./ In sports or in dress-up,/ I’ll sparkle and shine.” Like Travis, his friends’ personalities shine through their nongendered clothing and the toys they choose (one boy wears fairy wings; two girls play with a fire truck and a robot). While the characters show individuality in their clothing choices, Figueroa’s artwork can feel stiff. Dias offers little nuance in favor of a straightforward message about embracing individuality, defying stereotypes, and standing up against bullies. Back matter includes brief, seemingly arbitrarily chosen biographies of Fernando Bujones, Langston Hughes, and Elizabeth Stride—a supplement too insubstantial to meaningfully enhance the story. Ages 5–7. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 05/24/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Maiden & Princess

Daniel Haack and Isabel Galupo, illus. by Becca Human. Little Bee, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4998-0776-9

In an eclectic kingdom, a tenacious young woman, who wears an enviable suit of stylish armor and has a dragon for a pet, dreads attending the king and queen’s ball, where they hope to “find their son a worthy bride.” When she is chosen as the best match for the prince, she is miserable (he’s a nice enough guy, but “I see him as a brother”). When she’s approached by “a beautiful girl”—the princess—“who took the maiden’s breath away,” the two form an instant romantic bond. Readers may expect resistance from the king and queen; refreshingly, though, the two wholeheartedly approve of the match. Artist Human dresses the diverse villagers in lavish, jewel-toned gowns and dramatic headpieces, bringing a sense of opulence to the pages. Galupo and Haack joyfully subvert fairy tale tropes while maintaining romance and enchantment. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)

Reviewed on 05/24/2019 | Details & Permalink

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Like a Girl

Lori Degman, illus. by Mara Penny. Sterling, $16.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4549-3302-1

Degman overturns the negative connotations associated with the phrase “like a girl” by highlighting the lives and work of iconic female figures. Degman includes Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, and Harriet Tubman as well as lesser-known figures, among them Bessie Coleman, the first Native and African-American female pilot; Gertrude Ederle, the first woman to swim the English Channel; and architect Zaha Hadid. Degman repeats the title in the context of each figure’s accomplishments: “Change the world like a girl, from the land to the sea,” she writes of Nobel Peace Prize winner Wangari Maathai, who appears planting trees. Penny works in stylized collages that distinctively capture the likenesses of the women, who encompass people of varying backgrounds and abilities. In final spreads, Degman invites readers to be curious, ask questions, “and discover the ways.” Ages 4–8. (Aug.)

Reviewed on 05/24/2019 | Details & Permalink

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