Our Children Can Soar Reviews

We received two great reviews of OUR CHILDREN CAN SOAR today:


In the Chicago Sun-Times:

Last year President Obama’s campaign gave rise to the phrase “Rosa sat so Martin could walk; Martin walked so Barack could run; Barack ran so our children can fly.” That’s the basis for a stunning new picture book, Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change (Bloomsbury, 32 pages, $16.99), by Michelle Cook. It integrates a powerful theme of sacrifice and determination with distinctive color illustrations by 13 African-American artists such as Bryan Collier, Leo and Diane Dillon, Pat Cummings and James Ransome.

Twelve short, sequential sentences march through history: “Our ancestors fought [in the Civil War] . . . so George [Washington Carver] could invent,” and so on, ending on a note of hope. This moving book, enhanced by brief biographies of both the historical figures and the artists who portray them, provides a beacon for children of all ages.

and from SLJ:

Our Children Can Soar
“Similar in approach to Ntozake Shange’s Ellington Was Not a Street (S & S, 2004), this book spotlights a historical African-American figure on each spread. Cook’s brief words introduce 11 key individuals, beginning with “Our ancestors fought…/so George [Washington Carver] could invent./George invented…so Jesse [Owens] could sprint./Jesse sprinted….” Each stunning spread features full-bleed artwork done by a different children’s book illustrator, such as James Ransome, Leo and Diane Dillon, Pat Cummings, E. B. Lewis, and Bryan Collier. Sports greats Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson verily leap from the pages. Ruby Bridges steps innocently into her school building, guarded by two federal marshals. An unknown Civil War soldier reminds readers of nameless heroes who struggled for freedom. These images will motivate students to seek further information about the people depicted here. Paragraph-length profiles of these “pioneers of change” are appended as are the artists’ biographies, which will lead students to discover a rich body of work by contemporary illustrators. A perfect read-aloud to introduce a lesson on biographies or African-American studies.”–School Library Journal