Giant Steps to Change the World
Giant Steps to Change the World

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Annotation: Pursuing one's own path in life takes courage, strength, and perseverance, as demonstrated by such inspirational leaders as Barack Obama, Albert Einstein, and Muhammad Ali.
Catalog Number: #49987
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Copyright Date: 2011
Edition Date: 2011
Illustrator: Qualls, Sean,
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-689-86815-4 Perma-Bound: 0-605-49420-7
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-689-86815-3 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-49420-6
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2009027622
Dimensions: 26 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
"The road won't be easy. / People will try to exclude you, / but you must leap over hurdles like the Olympic athlete who won the gold / even though he had been relegated to second-class status / by the very country he was representing." In plainspoken free verse directed right to kids, this title introduces individuals who took "giant steps to make the world a better place." Although the poems do not identify the mostly African American heroes directly, children (and those reading to them) will find them named in boxed quotes that appear on the front and end pages, and each image includes iconic clues: butterflies flutter around the boxing-ring scene of the "heavyweight champion who refused / to pick up a gun against a fellow human being," for example. Rendered in paint, pencil, and collage, the artwork, featuring often-faceless figures, leaves space for young people to imagine their own stories and, like the poems, will inspire many children to match the pictures with the famous names and find out more.
Horn Book
Inspirational (if somewhat cryptic) text encapsulates the principles by which world leaders and heroes live: determination, fortitude, humanitarianism, courage, etc. The front and back end papers provide pithy quotes from such figures (e.g., Harriet Tubman, Albert Einstein, Langston Hughes). Qualls's symbolism-rich mixed-media illustrations help underscore the interconnectedness of all people.
Kirkus Reviews
The opening two pages of inspirational quotations from men and women both famous and not-quite serve as a de facto table of contents for a series of collages and accompanying homilies (often quite clunky ones) from the Lees. They are addressed to a young boy, literally climbing steps, and exhort all young readers to step up with "might and courage" so that they "will be the foundation that impacts us all." Adults will have to make the leap between those opening quotes and the following tableaux glorifying such figures as Jesse Owens, Marva Collins, Muhammad Ali, neurosurgeon Dr. Ben Carson, Mother Teresa, the Tuskegee Airmen and Neil Armstrong, among others, all of whom faced difficulties and aimed high. Qualls uses soft shades of blues, purples and oranges for each pictorial work, applying the paint thickly over pieces of newsprint and torn paper. Best of the bunch is a swirl of lines passing city buildings in homage to Langston Hughes' "The Negro Speaks of Rivers ." Not really a rousing read-aloud but a solid jumping-off point for discussion. Purposeful in a good way. (Picture book. 5-8)
Publishers Weekly
Aiming to inspire young readers, the Lees (Please, Baby, Please) speak directly to them: ""On some days your dreams may seem too far away to realize. Listen to the whispers of those that came before...."" Each page contains an encouraging thought and invokes the deeds of a hero. ""Press on through the darkness and keep going%E2%80%94the way the freedom fighter encouraged the enslaved to ride the railroad to safety so that all could be free."" The reference is to Harriet Tubman; the heroes are unnamed, but quotations from (and attributions for) each appear on the endpapers, and they're easy to match up, letting the book function both as a source of inspiration and as an interactive quiz about such figures as Jesse Owens, Mother Teresa, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Barack Obama. Qualls's bold, lively collages (Little Cloud and Lady Wind) handle the book's abstractions gracefully. A curly-haired boy contemplates a long stairway; intricate lines curl out of a book of Langston Hughes's poetry; a red snake represents fear. Concluding with a challenge, the Lees ask, ""What's your next step going to be?"" All ages. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
Gr 3&11;6&12; This motivational book braces readers for the obstacles that come along when following one's dreams. The endpapers have 12 quotes from various people, including Mother Teresa, Jean-Michel Basquiat, the Tuskegee Airmen, and neurosurgeon Ben Carson. On the title page, a child with black curly hair looks up a staircase. The narration that follows is directed toward the youngster. "Listen to the whispers of those that came before....They made giant steps to make the world a better place and left big shoes for you to fill." Neither names nor portraits pepper the spreads; instead, visual metaphors and advice extrapolated from the experiences of the individuals are quoted: "If you stare at a painting and do not see yourself there, paint your own portrait. Let the world see that you do exist...." The spreads have key verbs in a larger typeface to emphasize actions that lead to change ("Press on," "make a plan"), and the abstract, mixed-media paintings with bits of collage are vivid with meaning. Suspense sets in when the giant steps turn into segments of a red dragon eliciting the fears that threaten all those who dream of a better world. Expert pacing ensues, bringing the narrator to ask the child, and all readers by extension, the resounding and evocative question, "What's your next step going to be?"&12; Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
ALA Booklist (2/1/11)
Horn Book (8/1/11)
Kirkus Reviews
Publishers Weekly
School Library Journal (2/1/11)
Wilson's Children's Catalog
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: K-3
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.6 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q51087
Lexile: AD870L

"On some days your dreams may seem too away far to realize… Listen to the whispers of those that came before..."

Following the success of their much beloved picture books, Please, Baby, Please and Please, Puppy, Please; Academy Award nominated director Spike Lee, and his talented wife Tonya Lewis Lee offer up an inspirational picture book about activism and taking the big steps to set things right set to beautiful illustrations by the award-winning Sean Qualls. Using examples of people throughout history who have taken "giant steps", this book urges kids to follow in their footsteps and not be hindered by fear or a sense that you are not good enough. Despite the challenges, even the smallest step can change the world. So, what's your next step going to be?

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