Everyone is smart, each in his own unique way. Everyone embodies one or more of the basic ways people can be smart. This book celebrates twelve fascinating people from those who are well known like Maria Tallchief, Thurgood Marshall, Matthew Henson, and Marian Anderson to the more obscure such as astronomer Annie Jump Cannon, poet Alexander Posey, musician Tito Puente, and botanist Ynes Mexia. Poetry and prose, and quotes from the subjects, offer glimpses into their lives and how the intelligence they possessed was nurtured and encouraged. There is an explanation of Dr. Howard Gardner's theory of "multiple intelligence" and a concise clarification of each of the eight ways people are smart: body smart, logic smart, music smart, nature smart, people smart, picture smart, self smart, and word smart. Readers are encouraged, through a number of activities, to explore the theory further. Each brief biography is accompanied by a pencil-and-acrylic illustration in muted tones. In a classroom this could be used in a fun and interactive way to reassure children to feel good about their own particular "smarts." Reviewer: Beverley Fahey
- Kathryn Erskine
In this sensitive and inspiring book, the author tells the stories of various famous people in poems, biographical notes, and their own words. Each of the eight intelligences is addressed: people smart, self smart, body smart, nature smart, picture smart, music smart, logic smart, and word smart. An explanation of the eight ways in which people can be smart, some activities, and a list of resources make this book a useful tool, both in the classroom and at home. It may not always be clear to young readers exactly which intelligences a particular character reveals. An explanation at the end of the book briefly explains the multiple intelligences of three of the famous personalities. For example, "Marian Anderson had both a great voice and lots of self-esteem, which enabled her to succeed in the face of racial prejudice and discrimination." Such explanations would have been useful to place near each biographical poem. The poems themselves are very approachable for young people and easy to understand. The illustrations are joyful, creative works that take shapes and combine them into different and unique personalities, reiterating the point of book.
School Library Journal
Gr 3-6-After briefly explaining the theory of "multiple intelligences" (there are eight basic ways to be smart), Nikola-Lisa introduces 12 "smart" people. These individuals represent a variety of backgrounds and range from well known (Thurgood Marshall, Matthew Henson, Georgia O'Keeffe) to less familiar (astronomer Annie Jump Cannon, Congresswoman Patsy Takemoto Mink, Native American poet Alexander Posey). Each colorful spread contains a portrait, a quote, a short profile, and a poem. Although some of the rhymes sound forced, the poems have an inviting, raplike beat and clearly convey the essence of their subjects' accomplishments. Each one ends with a summary of the person's strengths and talents and prompts readers to think about their own abilities and interests. For example, for Marian Anderson: "Yes, Marian was smart-/gracious yet compelling;/her voice like a waterfall,/powerfully overwhelming./Are you smart like Marian?" The striking paintings feature close-up portraits set against backgrounds that evoke important life moments. Done in paper, pencil, and acrylic, they skillfully incorporate angles, shapes, and shadows to create unique representations. Explanations of the different types of intelligence are appended, and readers are encouraged to think about how they might be manifested in their own lives. This creative blend of poetry, biography, and psychology might spur interest in some of these gifted individuals, and might also inspire youngsters to view themselves and others from a fresh perspective.-Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Anchored by massive resource lists for adults in tiny type at the back, these 12 thumbnails attempt, not very successfully, to introduce to young or inexpert readers the idea of "multiple intelligences." After suggesting that "smart" can mean more than scholastic excellence, the author proceeds to prove the opposite with a cast of professionals that mixes such non-household names as physicist/geologist Luis Alvarez, astronomer Annie Jump Cannon and botanist Ynes Mex'a with the more familiar likes of Thurgood Marshall, Georgia O'Keeffe and I.M. Pei. Opposite stylized, expressionistic but still recognizable portraits from Qualls, he introduces each with roughly hewn, rap-style verses, followed by a single-paragraph career sketch. Though at the beginning he lists eight intelligences, such as "Body Smart," "Logic Smart" and even "Nature Smart," Nikola-Lisa never directly links any of them to his subjects; instead, he instructs readers to figure it out for themselves-without providing more than scattered, vague clues. It's a worthy concept for creative types and other misfits to absorb, but the author doesn't seem to understand it very well himself. (Collective biography. 9-12)