Akira to Zoltan<br><font size=2> Twenty-Six Men Who Changed the World</font>

Akira to Zoltan
Twenty-Six Men Who Changed the World

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By: Cynthia Chin-Lee / Illustrated by: Megan Halsey and Sean Addy

Men who have inspired and changed the world!

“Education is the most powerful weapon [that] you can use to change the world.”
—Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918–2013)

“For me, the only question is how can man find happiness with others.”
—Akira Kurosawa (1910–1998)

“You have to learn to be yourself, natural and undeceived as to who you are, calmly and surely you.”
—Langston Hughes (1902–1967)

“Make your life count—and the world will be a better place because you tried.”
—Ellison Shoji Onizuka (1946–1986)

Our world’s history has been shaped and formed by people who have followed their hearts, pursued their hopes, honed their talents, and challenged themselves. In Akira to Zoltán, the team that created the critically acclaimed Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World introduces 26 men who, as musician Quincy Jones would say, rode their lightning.

From artists such as filmmaker Akira Kurosawa and Diego Rivera to scientists such as Ivan Petrovich Pavlov to leaders such as Nelson Mandela and Badshah Khan, these men have inspired people around the world.

Beautiful, intricate collages highlight each gentleman and his special contribution to the world.

Look Inside the Book:

Author & Illustrator Bios:

Cynthia Chin-Lee, author

Cynthia Chin-Lee was born and raised in Washington, D.C., in a family with four older siblings. Her father is a medical doctor and her mother an artist. Cynthia picked up a pen and began writing for fun when she was in the sixth grade. "I liked writing poetry and scribbling in my journal because I found it comforting and therapeutic. I still write for that reason and because I like playing with words." Cynthia has written several books for children and lives in California.

Read more about Cynthia.

Megan Halsey and Sean Addy, illustrators

Megan Halsey has illustrated more than two dozen books for children, including Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World and Anne Rockwell’s One Bean (Walker). She lives in Lansdowne, Pennsylvania.

Read more about Megan Halsey.

Sean Addy received his B.A. from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. His graphic design work has appeared in many papers and magazines. Sean is the co-illustrator of Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World. Sean lives in Port Jervis, New York.

Read more about Sean Addy.

Awards & Honors:


  • NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People
  • Cleveland Public Library Distinguished Children's Biography List
  • RIF's Multicultural Booklist (Grades K to 5)


Editorial Reviews:

Kirkus Reviews

In a companion to Amelia to Zora, Chin-Lee selects an alphabetical array of men for the same treatment—a two or three paragraph biographical précis that includes a childhood incident, a description of important accomplishments and a pithy quote. Though such usual suspects as Mahatma Gandhi and Nelson Mandela are in the broadly international lineup, so are plenty of surprises (as you'd guess from the title), from filmmaker Akira Kurosawa and composer Zoltán Kodaly to Pashtun leader Badshah Abdul Ghaffa Khan, poet Octavio Paz, athlete Greg Louganis and bandleader Xavier Cugat Mingall. Using cut-paper shapes and paint, Halsey and Addy add stylized but generally recognizable figurative or symbolic portraits for each—posing Frank Lloyd Wright against a glittering stained glass window, for instance, but substituting a cello for Yo Yo Ma, and a dog and a bell for Ivan Petrovich Pavlov. Though most of these men are no longer active, or even living, and not all "changed the world" to quite the same degree, they're still worth knowing.


In a companion to Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World, this fine collective biography celebrates 26 famous men from the arts, the sciences, sports, and politics, with special emphasis on peacemakers, including Mohandas (Gandhi) and Nelson (Mandela). Each one-page celebration includes a brief, eloquent profile; a quote from the subject; and a mixed-media illustration (for Langston Hughes, a photo of the poet is set against the illustrators' dark, glowing rendering of a Harlem neighborhood). It is not clear why Chin-Lee uses given names rather than her subjects' more familiar surnames; however, the profiles are clearly, even eloquently written, and include just the right amount of detail and information about work and ethics for the target audience. Chin-Lee's rich diversity of subjects, from Diego (Rivera) and Greg (Louganis) to Octavio (Paz) and Vine (Deloria), makes a statement on its own. Of course, readers will want more, and the bibliography is a good place to begin research.


In this companion to Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World, Chin-Lee profiles men who were known as peacemakers or innovators. The selection is very diverse ethnically, including men from around the world: poet Octavio Paz to golfer Tiger Woods, filmmaker Akira Kurosawa to composer Zoltan Kodaly. The alphabetical arrangement is by first (not last) names—U fro diplomat U Thant, Q for musician Quincy Jones, etc.

School Library Journal

This companion volume to Chin-Lee's Amelia to Zora has capsule biographies of 26 men—some famous, some lesser-known—representing ethnic diversity and a variety of professions. The entries, all one page, cover individuals as varied as Akira Kurosawa and Pelé. Each page includes brief biographical information and covers the subject's significant contributions in succinct, readable prose. A quote from each man is incorporated into the lovely mixed-media illustrations that grace every entry. Representing several categories of performing arts, writers and poets, architects, political leaders, doctors, and astronauts, the intriguing and informative text expands upon the general conception of what it means to be famous by focusing on what makes a difference in the world. The concluding bibliography leads readers to deeper works in both print and nonprint sources. A worthy purchase, both in informational and illustrative terms, this title provides a starting place for research on any of these figures as it demonstrates the importance of passion in work.

The Bloomsbury Review

This welcome companion to Chin-Lee's Amelia to Zora: Twenty-six Women Who Changed the World features child-size portions of world-changing, peace-toting, life-affirming men, from Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa to U.S. senator Hiram Fong to poet Octavio Paz to cellist Yo-Yo Ma and finally composer and music educator Zoltán Kodály.


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ISBN: 978-1-57091-579-6

ISBN: 978-1-57091-580-2

ISBN: 978-1-60734-031-7 PDF
For information about purchasing E-books, click here.

Ages: 8+
Page count: 32
11 x 81/2

If you like this book, you’ll enjoy these:
Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World
After Gandhi: One Hundred Years of Nonviolent Resistance