The best children’s books for February, as chosen by the Washington Post:
From inauspicious beginnings, Gordon Parks (1912-2006) became a pioneering photographer and filmmaker as well as a novelist, composer and poet. In this picture-book biography, Caldecott honoree Carole Boston Weatherford focuses on Parks’s photographic career, particularly the images he took in Washington in the late 1930s and early ’40s. Parks’s accomplishments are especially remarkable given the limited choices he faced as a young African American male. (A teacher in his Kansas elementary school told Parks and his classmates, “You’ll all wind up porters and waiters.”) But after working as a piano player, porter and waiter, he bought a camera, taught himself to take pictures and transformed his life. As a government photographer assigned to Washington, he documented the segregation of the city — and with a single photograph of a cleaning woman named Ella Watson, got the world to take notice. Weatherford’s succinct text and Jamey Christoph’s stylized, muted-color illustrations convey Parks’s vibrant talent while delivering an enlightening perspective on the past.
— Abby McGanney Nolan