Our Children Can Soar by Michelle Cook

Every generation leans on the one before it. Some of today’s celebrated illustrators (e.g., Leo and Diane Dillon and E.B. Lewis) bring the words to Cook’s text giving homage to those who were slaves, scientists (e.g., George Washington Carver), sports figures (e.g., Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson), civil rights leaders (e.g., Thurgood Marshall), and presidents. The book ends with our children. What will they become as a result of the work done by those before them?

Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change is beautifully illustrated by twelve illustrators. People who love the art in children’s books will probably be able to identify the illustrator of each double-page spread without flipping to the biographies in the back. For example, when I saw Hattie McDaniel with an Oscar in her hand, I guessed that the illustrator was R. Gregory Christie. I like the way Pat Cummings has Ella Fitzgerald’s head sort of thrown back, eyes closed, mouth open, singing her heart out. Readers will also appreciate the contrasting image of Shadra Strickland's rendering of the U.S. flag inside the school as Ruby Bridges walks toward it with a mob waving the Confederate flag at her back.