PARKER LOOKS UP: An Extraordinary Moment
Written by Parker Curry & Jessica Curry
Illustrated by Brittany Jackson
40 Pages Age 4—8
Genre: Children’s Picture Book, Nonfiction
Themes: Role Models, The National Portrait Gallery, Reflections
She had a little moment.
When Parker Curry same face-to-face with Amy Sherald’s transcendent portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama . . .
She saw dynamic self-assurance.
She saw truth and beauty.
She saw a queen.
But most importantly, Parker saw
Her hopes. Her dreams.
Her power. Her promise.
And a little moment became an extraordinary one, the inspiration and indelible impact of which continue to resonate for Parkers everywhere. (from book jacket)
Parker Curry loved to dance. Dressed in her favorite tutu, she imagined she was a dancing queen.
Why I like this book
Instead of dance class, Parker, younger sister Ava, and mom went to the museum, where they met up with Parker’s best friend Gia. Inside the National Portrait Gallery images hung on the walls all around the girls. They saw horses prancing, flowers blooming, and a nearly cross-eyed Albert Einstein. There was so much to see. In a playroom, the friends made a purple-haired pirate wearing sunglasses. Soon, it was time to go.
The girls ran past more portraits and then Parker suddenly stopped, like a spellbound statue. She looked up and saw someone looking back. With rich brown skin and dazzling eyes, this woman looked like Parker. In this woman, Parker saw a reflection of her mother, her grandmother, and . . . herself.
Who is she? Parker asked, stilled glued to the portrait. Parker heard mommy’s words ringing around her: courageous, mother, lawyer, advocate, dynamic, honest . . . words filled her mind as she stared at the beautiful First Lady Michelle Obama.
Seeing young Parker mesmerized by Michelle Obama, who shinned back at Parker, took the Internet by storm. Parker saw a woman who could be her mother or herself. This must have given Parker such inspiration; inspired that she could be anyone she desired, even someone with a portrait that could inspire other little girls.
Many have been calling out for more inclusion in children’s books. Kids need to read stories about someone they can relate to; who looks like them. When published, those books can give kids hope, someone to aspire too, a look into a life they could have or the lead in their own story. The possibilities are endless.
Parker Looks Up is a gift to all the little girls who rarely see themselves in a story. The illustrations are gorgeous. Artist Brittany Jackson skillfully recreated the portraits the girls saw that day. Many of Brittany’s portraits pop off the page, daring you to look away. Like Albert Einstein, whose genius eyes seem to look right through you. Brittany’s illustrations help make Parker Looks Up into a sensational book. Little girls and their parents will like this book.
One day, Parker Looks Up, co-authored by then four-year-old Parker, will be another young girl’s source of inspiration.
Following the story is a note from Amy Sherald, the artist who created the portrait of former First Lady Michelle Obama, which hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. Plus, there is information about each portrait Brittany recreated and who gifted it to the museum.
Illustrations: Rendered digitally.
Available at Amazon
PARKER LOOKS UP: An Extraordinary Moment. Text Copyright © 2019 by Parker Curry & Jessica Curry. Illustrations copyright © 2019 by Brittany Jackson. Published by Aladdin / Simon & Schuster Children’s Division, New York, NY.
Copyright © 2019 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved.
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