Imaginative, socially-conscious, educational picture books and informative, lively nonfiction.

A selection of Boyds Mills Press books are available online at the Highlights website.

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Praise for Black and White

A fascinating look at one of the most crucial places and periods in the civil rights movement

“The nonviolence credo adopted by the civil rights movement of the late 1950s and ’60s did not, of course, mean a lack of action or agitation. Leaders used the courts, demonstrations, public opinion and economic power to chip away at the South’s segregationist policies. A handsome introduction to an ugly time, “Black and White” tells how the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth cannily utilized an unabashed racist, Eugene “Bull” Connor, to advance equality in Birmingham, Ala., and beyond. Larry Dane Brimner presents these two men as stubborn personalities on a collision course. One felt guided and protected by God to push for civil rights, to the point that he was considered by many to be dictatorial. The other was just as determined to maintain the racial status quo. Aided by a wealth of pertinent photographs, Brimner chronicles their interactions through the years, culminating in the events of May 1963. While the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. weighed whether young people should participate in protests, Shuttlesworth and hundreds of Birmingham’s youth went on ahead. With Connor voted out of office but still in charge of the police, Shuttlesworth, who died in October, knew the timing was crucial. The resulting footage of children and teenagers being blasted by water cannons helped persuade the nation to pass crucial civil rights legislation.” –The Washington Post

“Larry Dane Brimner understands the importance of process, not just single incidents, in protest. The Rev. Fred L. Shuttlesworth, who died in October, may not be a household name, but Brimner explains how he worked and how Eugene "Bull" Connor responded. "The 1960s saw Bull fighting to keep the races apart, while Fred was shaking things up to bring about an end of Jim Crow." This book is a detailed examination of local politics being written large, as Shuttlesworth brings inequalities in Birmingham, Ala., and Connor's violent responses more and more prominently into national view. Brimner uses photographs, clippings and varying formats to keep a long examination readable.” –Chicago Tribune

Starred review “…Never simplistic in his depictions, Brimner shows the viewpoints from all sides: some middle-class blacks resented “Fred’s” heavy-handed style— fiery, confrontational, dictatorial—even if they agreed with the goals; some whites in Birmingham did wish to see an end to segregation, though their voices were drowned out. A penetrating look at elemental national history.” –Booklist, starred review

Starred review “A fascinating look at one of the most crucial places and periods in the civil rights movement through two polar opposites…A clean, graphically interesting design abets a well-researched, engaging narrative that contributes a more nuanced view of the period than is often seen. –Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“…Brimner limns the characters of both men and the ways in which their belief systems and personalities interacted to eliminate segregation from the Birmingham statutes…The writing style is lively and informative. A brief bibliography, excellent source notes, and a sound index round out this volume, which can stand alongside Russell Freedman’s Freedom Walkers (Holiday House, 2006) and Brimner’s own Birmingham Sunday (Calkins Creek, 2010) as fine examples of both civil-rights history and photo-biographies.” –School Library Journal

A starred review for A Beach Tail
Reviews

Starred reviewKirkus Reviews awards Karen Lynn Williams' A Beach Tail with a starred review in its February 15, 2010 issue:

"While Greg and his dad enjoy a beach day, Dad sets two rules: "Don't go in the water / and don't leave Sandy," a lion Greg has drawn in the sand. As the little boy continues drawing the lion's tail, he discovers myriad items along the shore. Williams's rhythmic, onomatopoeic Swish-swoosh of the waves and the clear, descriptive text transport readers into Greg's experiences, which range from spotting a "gooey purple jellyfish" to watching a "tiny ghost crab / scurry sideways into his dark, round hole." Cooper's mastery with pastels results in a grainy, sun-washed effect that conjures a hot seaside day. Most stunning are the endearing, intimate close-ups of Greg immersed in artistic play. Children will relate to his adventure, which pivots on the moment he realizes he has lost sight of his dad. But a winning combination of good memory and self-reliance lead to a most satisfactory ending. Scoop up this tale for its strength as a unique beach story and for its warm portrayal of an African-American son and father enjoying the outdoors."

 

A starred review for Planet Hunter

Starred reviewKirkus Reviews awards Vicki Wittenstein's Planet Hunter with a starred review in its January 15, 2010 issue:

"Colorfully illustrated with photographs, diagrams and artists' renderings, this description of a scientist's work concentrates on this relatively new branch of astronomy. Debut author Wittenstein includes chapters on Marcy's background and preparation, the techniques he and others use and the history of extrasolar planet discovery. Sidebars and full-page explanations, set off by a differently colored background, introduce other scientists in this field and define and explain important concepts and parallel investigations. The author's explanations are clear, well organized and interestingly written with plenty of quotations from the scientists, but the material is not simple. An extensive bibliography provides books and websites for middle- and high-school readers as well as their teachers."