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ALA Notable Books for Children
2020 (Younger Readers)
Across the Bay
Book Jacket   Carlos Aponte
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781524786625 Carlitos lives with his mother and his abuela in Cataño, Puerto Rico. Though he's happy in his cozy house, his family is different because his father is gone, living somewhere across the bay in San Juan. An idea forms: he'll bring a photo of his father and take the ferry to the capital. He shows the picture to strangers, and some offer suggestions. He wanders until the only place left to look is the El Morro castle. But there's no Papi, and his photo is lost. The kind words of a park ranger offer solace: no matter the dark clouds, the sun will eventually return. Aponte does a fine job of taking on a poignant problem without overwhelming the story with sadness. Much of the heavy lifting is done by the effusive art, done in the style of mid-century artwork, with thick lines around fancifully shaped characters, including hidden gems like the cats that follow Carlitos. The lushly colored art is suffused with an animation that reminds readers that life is always moving, a good lesson for any age group.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781524786625 Aponte (A Season to Bee) unmistakably writes from the heart in this story rooted in his childhood in Puerto Rico. Located across the bay from Old San Juan, Carlitos’s hometown of Cataño, where he lives with his loving mother and abuela, is ablaze with flowers and fruit trees—vibrantly portrayed in fluid, expressive cartoons that capture the tranquility of his village and the vitality of the city beyond. The observation that Carlitos’s family “didn’t look like the others” is confirmed when he and his mother enter a barbershop where other boys wait their turn alongside their fathers, prompting Carlitos to ask, “Mami, where is Papi?” Her response—that he is “across the bay” and that “sometimes things don’t work out”—incites Carlitos to sneak out of the house and ride a ferry to the city, a photo of Papi in his pocket. After no one he asks recognizes the man in the picture, the comforting words of a park ranger and Carlitos’s longing to see his family “calling from across the bay” impel him to return home—contentedly. A reflective, poignant portrait of loss, resilience, and the protean nature of family. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781524786625 PreS-Gr 2—Missing a father in his life, a young boy goes searching for him. Carlitos lives in the town of Cataño in Puerto Rico, a town just across the bay from the capital city of San Juan. Carlitos leads a happy life with his mother, abuela, and cat, Coco. But he doesn't like going to the barbershop, where he feels left out when he sees all of the other boys accompanied by their dads. Knowing his father lives in San Juan, the boy finds an old photo of him, grabs some money, and tiptoes out of the house and to the ferry terminal. Predictably, he doesn't find his father but instead realizes how important the family he does have is to him. Aponte's color-filled illustrations capture the vibrancy and warmth of Carlitos's environment. As the boy walks the streets of San Juan, readers familiar with the city will easily recognize it. The text, however, is inconsistent. For example, the absence of a father is explained as, "most families in Carlitos's town looked the same. His family didn't look like the others." It is also somewhat jarring when the barber greets Carlitos's mother as "Doña Carmen" but she responds with a simple "Francisco." Is she asserting social privilege? VERDICT Though not without flaws, this book with a Puerto Rican setting may be considered as a secondary purchase.—Lucia Acosta, Children's Literature Specialist, Princeton, NJ
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Carlitos' yearning for his father takes him on a clandestine solo trip to Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, to find him. In the town of Catao, across the titular bay from the capital, Carlitos lives with his mother, his abuela, and their cat, Coco. Carlitos' "family didn't look like the others." The neighborhood children play basketball, learn to ride a bike, or do housework with their fathers while Carlitos goes to the barbershop with only his mother. When Carlitos asks about Papi's whereabouts, his mother reassures him that his father is across the baythat "sometimes things don't work out." Even though he is happy with his family, a desire for more sets Carlitos on a ferry with Papi's photo in hand. Vibrant illustrations with an inviting tropical palette draw readers in as Carlitos searches high and low for Papi. A refreshingly varied spectrum of brown shades of skin abounds in colorful city scenes. Wide-angle perspectives effectively emphasize emotional scale: the vastness of San Juan Bay, Carlitos' sense of his own smallness as he searches for his father in the "maze" of the old capital, and his despair at his journey's end. Aponte's decision to leave Carlitos' quest unresolved is an honest one, and readers will respond to this beautiful depiction of a young boy's physical and emotional journey within a deeply cultural setting.Shining with palpable pride for family and home. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781524786625 Aponte explores a young child's physical and emotional journey coping with his father's absence from his life and learning to love all that is around him. Carlitos lives with his mother, grandmother, and cat in Catano, a town just across the bay from Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Now and then, in the streets or at the barbershop, Carlitos notices that there's something "different" about his family. From his mother, the young boy learns that his father lives "across the bay." ("Sometimes things don't work out.") Carlitos decides to hop onto the ferry and travel to Old San Juan with a photo of his dad and the hope of finding him. Through strikingly colorful and vibrant illustrations, Aponte captures the essence of Old San Juan: while Carlitos asks around for his father, readers can see such typical local images as a shaved-ice vendor, a group of cats, old men playing dominoes, the traditional San Sebastian street festival, and people flying kites at El Morro fort. This tale, in which a young boy walks around by himself without anyone knowing, asking, or wondering where his supervising adults are, is based on Aponte's childhood memories of a particular time and place. A lively and honest story about filling voids and exploring what defines a family--as well as a love letter to a childhood home. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Art This Way
Book Jacket   Tamara Shopsin
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Take a peek at art from a variety of different literal and metaphorical angles.Veritably daring readers to look at art in a fresh new way, this innovatively designed board book features a variety of foldouts, flaps, and die cuts. From its disorienting upside-down first page, the authors use the medium to its best advantage. Never gimmicky, the format enhances readers' understanding of the art. A Lichtenstein pop-art page superbly uses a die cut as a frame to draw eyes to the half-toning that makes the piece work, and lifting a flap "Up" reveals a hanging Calder mobile. This is one of the rare board books that speaks to many ages: A long, colorful foldout of Warhol flower variants would be ideal for a baby to gaze at during tummy time. A Cindy Sherman-inspired shiny mirrored page with black glasses will attract toddlers' eyes, but knowing it works as a disguise will intrigue preschool readers. All of the carefully curated and concisely explained pieces of art are from the Whitney collection. They include sculpture, prints, mobiles, and photography, and male and female artists are showcased equally. The selections, which also include a street-art photograph of children playing with sidewalk chalk and an intriguing sculpture of a woman alongside her small dog, have broad child appeal. Art appreciation with an ingenious twist. (Board book. 6 mos.-5) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
At the Mountains Base
 Traci Sorell.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780735230606 A group of women gather in a cabin to sing and pray for the safe return of one of their kin, a pilot who is away at war. As their song reaches her, she too prays for the safety of her loved ones the women in the cabin at the base of the mountain. The well-crafted brevity of Sorell's poem belies the weight of the women's emotions and the significance of the topic being honored. We learn from the author's note that Native women have always held military roles: in intertribal conflicts, against European colonialism, and in the U.S. Armed Forces. With illustrations by award-winning comic artist Alvitre, a more powerful pairing of art and text is difficult to imagine. At the core of the poem is a grandma who is weaving. / And worrying. The strands of her weaving spin across the pages, framing panels of stunningly detailed and realistic renderings of the mountain, the cabin, and the women's faces. Sorell and Alvitre invite readers to think about intergenerational connections, the power of love, and the juxtaposition of vulnerability and strength that the women embody. With a message that is universal while also centering on Native women, this blend of fiction and nonfiction, the human and the divine, is simply brilliant.--Amina Chaudhri Copyright 2019 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. The engaging tale of a Native woman in the military during World War II.A Cherokee family sits around a hearth in a cabin in the woods. They are weaving and thinking of their female family member who is enlisted in the military. She flies a support plane, exhibiting courage as she hopes for safety and a return to peace. The text is simple and circular: As the family prays for their warrior, she is depicted in her plane, remembering and praying for them. With her colorful illustrations, Alvitre (Tongva/Scots-Gaelic) introduces an effective visual theme, depicting the connection between weaving and meditation as threads loop and twine through the artwork. The author is Cherokee, which may be the reason she makes the family in her story the same, but it makes for a bit of a disconnect when the author's note informs readers that the story is based on that of Oglala Lakota pilot Ola Mildred Rexroat, "the only Native woman among 1,074 Women Air Force Service Pilots in World War II." Still, the meditative text is lovely, and the artwork brings the small Cherokee abode to life with warmth and love. Children will find comfort in the story's repetition as well as its message of prayer and peace.A Cherokee family's worry for their loved one at war reminds readers of the sacrifices made by Natives in our military. (Picture book. 5-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780735230606 In an author’s note, Sorell (We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga), who is an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation, explains that Native women have served in the U.S. Armed Forces “at proportionately higher rates than all other Active Duty, Reserve, and National Guard Servicemembers.” In this lullaby-like poem, she imagines the Cherokee family of one such woman. The lines join with an incantatory rhythm: “At the mountain’s base/ grows a hickory tree. Beneath this sits a cabin./ In that cabin” a grandmother weaves with help from younger women and a small girl. The women, “tending and singing,” praise a missing family member: a WWII military pilot flying a combat mission. Alvitre (Little Nemo: Dream Another Dream), who is Tongva/Scots-Gaelic, paints her in her cockpit above the clouds as her thoughts circle back to her family: “Within that pilot/ forms a prayer,/ pleading for peace./ Because at the mountain’s base,/ beneath the hickory tree” awaits her beloved family. High above, with flowing hair and outstretched arms, the figure of a larger-than-life entity watches over the family and the pilot. Sorell honors an Oglala Lakota pilot and holds up her courage in this expansive, intimate picture book. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780735230606 K-Gr 3—A military family awaits the return of their loved one in this lyrical tribute to modern warrior women. At the mountain's base, beneath a hickory tree, sits a cabin, and inside, next to a cozy stove, a grandmother weaves and prays, surrounded by family members singing. Within their song, a pilot flies into danger seeking peace, and Sorell's simple yet poetic text circles back to the family in the cabin, huddled together, "waiting for her return." Individual color strands woven throughout Alvitre's watercolor and ink illustrations come together to form a striking tapestry encircling the cabin, linking its inhabitants to the pilot. Generous white space and colorful frames focus attention on the connections between the human figures. An afterword summarizes the achievements of Indigenous women in the armed forces and briefly mentions the career of Ola Mildred Rexroat, an Oglala Lakota pilot and member of the WASPs in World War II. VERDICT Accessible to a wide range of young audiences and military families, this picture book is also a unique and specific recognition of the strength and courage of Indigenous women. A first-purchase for any library.—Chelsea Couillard-Smith, Hennepin County Library, MN
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2020 (Younger Readers)
B Is for Baby
 Atinuke
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781536201666 This clever story puts the focus on the letter B. In fact, it's the key element that moves the text. In an unspecified African village, we meet a baby whose mother is putting beads in her hair. B is also for basket; this woven one is to be brought to Baba by Brother, filled with bananas for this grandfather's breakfast. But what readers see, and Brother does not, thanks to his headphones blocking out any sounds as he rides to Baba's, is that Baby has crawled into the basket secured on the rear of his bike. Along the way, Baby spies birds and butterflies and gets a biscuit when finally discovered by a surprised grandfather. A miniature panorama on the final page shows the trip home. The children's mom doesn't seem pleased by the adventure. Each page displays one terse sentence, such as "B is for beautiful." The colorful mixed-media art, however, is expansive, whether showing a single image of a curious baby playing with her toe, or detailing the lush surroundings. This one's a charmer.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2019 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781536201666 Toddler-PreS-"B is for Baby" is the first and last line of this entertaining story of a baby girl, her brother, a bicycle, some bananas, and a big surprise. Highlighting words that begin with the letter "B," and with only four words per page-except for one spread-a simple story emerges that will engage small children and be accessible, with a little help, to early readers. In an unspecified African village, a mother gets her very young daughter dressed and ready for the day. She sends her son off with a basket filled with bananas to share with his grandfather. Unbeknownst to the boy, his little sister has fallen into the basket and is along for the ride to Baba's bungalow. The tale takes readers forward and then reverses the steps as the boy returns to his mother with his sister in tow. Illustrations in mixed media are large and bright with a white background. Animals, trees, flowers, and the inhabitants' dress reveal a bit of village life. VERDICT This tale offers eye-catching colors and a clever and fun way to introduce the "B" sound while telling a story.-Maryann H. Owen, Oak Creek Public Library WI © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781536201666 From Atinuke and Brooksbank (Baby Goes to Market), another tenderly funny story set in an unspecified African village and starring a winsome baby girl. B is not only for baby but also for an intriguing basket with a lid; when the little girl peeks inside, a sequence of pictures shows her overbalancing into the basket and then settling in happily. Brooksbank's mixed-media illustrations use warm colors on spacious off-white pages. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781536201666 As they did in Baby Goes to Market, Atinuke and Brooksbank include readers in the book's antics while leaving out the characters who surround Baby. Pictures tell the story alongside minimal text that introduces B words (baby, beads, basket). After Baby tumbles into a basket of bananas bound for Baba's bungalow, Brother, plugged into his headphones, replaces the basket's cover and loads it onto his bicycle, oblivious to its additional cargo. Subtle visual foreshadowing gives kids a peek at upcoming words as the boy pedals along: one of the birds seen perched in a baobab tree appears at close range on the following spread ("B is for Beautiful"), which also displays a baboon-filled tree in the background ("B is for Baboon"). A page later, one of the monkeys snags the top off the basket, exposing its stowaway passenger and paving the way for the big reveal to a shocked Brother and thrilled Baba. Featuring loose lines and an earth-toned backdrop, Brooksbank's energetic mixed-media art showcases the brilliant colors of African vegetation and clothing, and infuses Atinuke's sweet phrases with warmth and humor. Ages 3-7. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A circular tale of family love with visual rewards for sharp-eyed listeners. In this story that looks like an alphabet book but focuses exclusively on the letter B, a smiling woman, probably mama, stands in a yard, holding Baby cheek-to-cheek, as another woman chats with four children under the awning of a small tin-roofed house in the background. Many visual details hint at this book's African (probably Nigerian) setting. After Mama Beads Baby's hair, Brother loads a Basket of Bananas onto his Bicycle while bopping to the beat of what's playing through his headphones, oblivious to everything elseespecially the fact that Baby climbed into the Basket to have a Banana for Breakfast. On the road, he passes a Baobab tree, Birds, a Butterfly, Baboons, a Bus brimming over with brown-skinned riders crossing a Bridge, and more sightsfew of which Brother notices. Nothing, however, escapes the keen eyes of Baby. Only when Brother lifts the Bananas from the Bicycle rack does anyone discover the stowaway. A surprised Baba happily welcomes both grandchildren, who join him for Biscuits and bottles of something bubbly. Brooksbank effectively avoids stereotypes while adding humor and cultural specificity to the story with her detailed and lively, colorful, mixed-media images. Safety-conscious caregivers may suck their teeth, but there's no denying the joy in this book.Atinuke has bottled the delightful energy of the Anna Hibiscus books and poured it into this treat for younger readers. (Picture book. 3-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
The Balcony
Book Jacket   Melissa Castrillon
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781534405882 Castrillón presents an almost-wordless story of a child uprooted by a family move from the countryside to the city and the growth in self, surroundings, and community that results. Lonely but hopeful, the protagonist tends seeds on the apartment balcony. Eventually, the neighborhood turns into an urban gardener's paradise, community members connect, and a flower shop opens downstairs. Circle motifs throughout support the themes of beginnings and endings, cycles and growth. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781534405882 PreS-Gr 2—A young girl brings along her love of the outdoors as she makes the adjustment of moving from a country home to a city apartment in this mostly wordless attestation to the possibilities of change and the meaning of home. When her mother receives a great job offer in the city, a girl is heartbroken to leave her home's lush garden where she has found solace with the flora and fauna, only to move to an apartment where the main access to the outdoors is a small, barren balcony. Soon, with some seeds she brought with her, she starts a balcony garden that quickly flourishes, spilling over to the balconies below hers. While enjoying her garden, she meets a friend, which leads to a satisfying realization that home can be a lot of things. With only a few elegantly hand lettered words, Castrillón's richly hued digital and pencil Ottoman-style illustrations carry the story. Making use of the book's narrow shape, she moves back and forth between spreads and vignettes that add pacing and offer moments to pause and bask in the splendor of the magical world the girl is creating. Centered on the child's story, other story lines unfold in the background, reinforcing the book's theme of hope in change. VERDICT A book to assuage the fear of moving to a new home, this lovely illustrated tale will be a delightful addition to most collections.—Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, OR
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781534405882 Using only seven words, Castrillón tells a rich story of a girl's adjustment after moving from a house in the country to an apartment in the city. It is with a tearful goodbye that the girl, rosy cheeked with a short black bob, presses her face against the rear window of her parents' car as it drives away. Castrillón's distinctive, whimsical illustrations an arresting combination of pencil and digital color show the pangs of leaving a beloved place behind and highlight the girl's affinity for nature. The sun-kissed yellows and greens of the country give way to darker blues and pinks in the city. On her first night in the apartment, she finds comfort in planting seeds in a pot, which quickly grow in the balcony's sunlight. Brighter colors return, as does the girl's cheerful disposition, creating a lovely study in making a place your own. Castrillón creatively uses the page, clustering spot art alongside full- and double-page spreads of swirling lines and kaleidoscopic tones. The upbeat message of this tender tale blooms as beautifully as the plants in the little girl's care.--Julia Smith Copyright 2019 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781534405882 The girl who stars in this nearly wordless tale by Castrillón (If I Had a Little Dream) has rosy cheeks and short dark hair and lives blissfully in the countryside. Castrillón’s lush spreads of her house and its surroundings recall early modern woodcuts and traditional folk art. Movement is everywhere: curtains sway, smoke curls. Then the girl’s parents tell her that her mother has gotten a new job and they must move to the city (“Goodbye,” hand-lettered text reads). Their new brick walk-up has a balcony, and from it the girl stares forlornly at the hills where she used to play. But she’s brought a pot with her, in which she plants seeds (“Hope,” the letters read). A large, artichokelike plant soon springs forth, growing by leaps and bounds, and slowly, the girl transforms her balcony into a wild garden. Tendrils and flowers reach the balcony below; neighbors rejoice. She spots a child with dark skin and curly hair across the way, and their families become friends. Castrillón offers riotous sprouting life through soft forms, stylized shapes, and bright colors. “Bloom where you’re planted,” the adage goes, and that’s just what this girl does. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A child gardener makes a new place feel like home.The young protagonist, whose skin is the pale cream of the book's paper, enjoys the lush garden of their country home, serenely having tea with animal friends. Then a job change for their parents means goodbye. Saddened, they move to an apartment in the city, from which they gaze longingly at the distant country from their third-story balcony. They plant seeds in a pot, and, seemingly overnight, an asparagus-looking bloom sprouts. It grows steadily, eventually becoming even taller than the child's parents. With more plants, the balcony soon becomes an overflowing oasis of flora, attracting friendly animals, until the whole neighborhood is teeming with vegetation. The plants form connections among the community, including the protagonist's friendship with a next-door-neighbor child who has dark skin and wears their hair in braided knots. The occasional text provides some plot developments (a posted letter inviting the mother to take a job in the city) and conveys strong moods ("Hope" appears next to the child as they pot their initial plant). Digitally colored pencil illustrations are classically styled, with hatchings, strong lines, playful spatial distortions reminiscent of Wanda Gg, and a vintage-feeling tricolor palette. The organic elements have especially enchanting forms. Elegant drawings and sparse, emotive text make this story accessible to readers of a wide age range.A charmingly verdant tale in classic style. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Bear Came Along
Book Jacket   Richard T. Morris
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316464475 What begins as a solo log ride down a river for Bear turns into a group adventure as new forest animals join the pileup hurtling through the water. Each has a different approach to the wild ride: the turtles worry about what could go wrong, while the raccoons delight in the "twists and turns." All are surprised, though, when they realize where they're headed: a waterfall, which, after a dramatic plunge, lands them in a calm, communal pool. Text by Morris (Fear the Bunny) bounces along with appealing repetition and rhythm, but it's cleverly designed illustrations by Pham (Stop That Yawn!) that make this offering a standout choice for reading aloud. Varying perspectives amplify both the drama and the humor, particularly in wordless scenes that move from the vertiginous animals'-eye-view to their comically shocked faces to an aerial image that emphasizes how far the drop will be. And the forest's gradual color shifts, from muted grays to the brilliant hues in the final scene, echo the story's underlying message: connecting with others makes life richer, more vibrant, and a lot more fun. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Alice Tasman, Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. Illustrator's agent: Linda Pratt, Wernick & Pratt Literary Agency. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316464475 PreS-Gr 2–The dramatic cover, featuring a large hand-lettered title and a close-up of an alarmed-looking bear, sets the stage for a spirited adventure. Venturing out of his cave, a curious bear climbs out on a tree that breaks off and falls into a river. Starting what becomes a natural "log flume" ride, Bear initially moves slowly, picking up Froggy and the Turtles, then a string of various animals. Each creature gains specific knowledge through the quest. Bear doesn't know he was on an adventure until he finds Froggy. Froggy doesn't realize she has friends, until the Turtles join them, etc. Watercolor, ink, and gouache illustrations are well-designed to expand the text, using each animal's expressions and body language to convey their individual roles. Front and back end pages both act as maps of the river, but also provide an introduction and an epilogue to the tale. A dramatic spread, positioned from the animals' point of view, shows them on the edge of a precipice about to take the plunge. A page turn shifts to a facing view and all the creatures' wide-eyed expressions. One more turn pulls the focus out to long range, showcasing the river, the drop, and the animals perched precariously. As they fall, however, their expressions are mostly cheerful, then exuberant, ending with "Oh, what a ride!" VERDICT Full of messages about seizing the day and learning from one another, this jaunty tale and its large-scale, immersive pictures expansively invite readers to come along, too.—Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316464475 A big brown bear doesn't know what a river can do until he falls in. As the water rushes on and he floats away on a log, Bear inadvertently finds a number of new friends. A frog hops on his head, turtles climb aboard, a beaver and raccoons drop in, and the whole gang crashes into a flock of ducks. All the while, the river is twisting and turning and heading for a deep-drop waterfall. The two-page spread in which the animals observe their fate is priceless, varying between uncertainty and shock. But the fall turns out to be much more delightful than anticipated, with even more new friends appearing. Anyone who fondly remembers the similarly themed Little Golden Book Big Brown Bear (and everyone else!) will have warm feelings toward this river-­riding fellow who isn't expecting what he finds but embraces the experience and happily accepts the friendships that come along with it. Pham's artwork here is delightful as she paints between the lines of sensational and silly. Her vivid colorings and imaginative design command attention, as does her focus on the blue water, which swirls and whirls with both fun and purpose. Most important, she uses her watercolor, ink, and gouache artwork to build the simple story to (mixing metaphors here) a breath-holding cliff-hanger. Perfect for listeners in story hours or on laps.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2019 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316464475 This boisterous adventure is about discovery and friendships forged when least expected--all in the form of a wild log-ride. A river "didnt know it was a river" until...Bear shows up. Bear doesn't know he's on an adventure until...a frog leaps onto his head. And so it goes until...the animals plummet over a waterfall in an exhilarating vertical spread. Pham's illustrations have a 1980s-cartoon feel yet remain fresh. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A succession of forest creaturesand even the river itselflearn from one another and validate their relationships with both one another and the wider world.The simplicity of the text and the stylized, comical creatures belie the depth of the message that comes through for even the youngest of readers: We are all in this together, and our differences strengthen our unity. The river "didn't know it was a riveruntil" Bear accidentally begins riding down it on a piece of broken tree trunk. Bear in turn doesn't realize he is on an adventure until Froggy lands on his back; lonely Froggy doesn't know how many friends she has until the wary Turtles show up on the ever-more-swiftly-moving log; the Turtles learn how to enjoy the ride when Beaver climbs aboard; and so on through several more characters until they are all at the brink of a waterfall. Outstanding art perfectly complements the text, showing the animals' differing personalities while also using color, space, and patterns to create appealing scenery. There are several hilarious double-page spreads, including one from the animals' collective perspective, showing solely the various feet on the tree-trunk-cum-raft at the waterfall's edge, and one requiring a 90-degree turn, showing the plummeting animals as they reach for one anothersome looking worried and others, like Duck and Beaver, obviously enjoying the sudden drop.To quote one particularly joyous double-page spread, "Oh, what a ride!" (author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book. 2-5) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
The Bell Rang
 James E. Ransome
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A girl's family life and plantation routines are interrupted when three enslaved boys run away. Most days start the same way: The bell rings, Daddy collects wood, Mama prepares breakfast, they eat together. The narrator's brother, Ben, her parents, and the other slaves go to the fields while the girl stays with the young ones to play. On Wednesday, Ben surprises her with a handmade doll. On Thursday, Ben and his two friends are gone. There are tears; the narrator's parents are beaten, and other slaves look mad or sad. On Friday, the girl cannot eat or talk. On Saturday, there are horses and dogs; Ben's friends have been caught, but there is no sign of Ben. "Out comes the whip. / All night we cry and pray for Ben." On Sunday, Big Sam preaches near the creek, "of being free. / We sing. / We hope. / We pray / Ben made it. / Free like the birds. / Free like Moses. / No more bells." The final spread shows the girl looking out, with the single word "Monday" and a bird flying away on the endpaper. The richly textured paintings make masterful use of light and space to create the narrator's world and interior life, from the glimmer of dawn as her father chops wood to her mother's fatigue and her own knowing eyes. Ransome's free-verse text is as accomplished as his glowing acrylics.With spare text and gorgeous illustrations, this work represents a unique and engaging perspective on enslaved families. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781442421134 *Starred Review* Every dawn begins the same for the enslaved family of four featured in this book: The bell rings, / and no sun in the sky. / Daddy gathers wood. / Mama cooks. / We eat. The father, mother, and son go to work in the fields, while the daughter spends her days with the younger children. One morning, her brother presents his sister with a handmade doll, a kiss, and a good-bye. The next day, the family discovers that Ben has run away. Tears, fear, and sorrow overtake the family as they wonder about the fate of their beloved son and brother. Beautifully rendered acrylic paintings reveal the closeness of the family, whose pleasure at being together is evident. The richly colored vignettes in Coretta Scott King Award-winning Ransome's single- and double-page-spread paintings clearly picture the emotions felt by the family and the day-to-day monotony of their lives. Swallows are seen flying on the endpapers and over the Sunday prayer gathering, signaling the freedom the family hopes Ben has achieved. The last illustration shows the girl looking at the detested bell, leaving readers to wonder if she is thinking of the day she might choose to run away also. A powerful tale of slavery and its two terrible options: stay or run.--Maryann Owen Copyright 2018 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781442421134 Using deceptively simple, repetitive verse, an enslaved girl narrates her family's daily plantation activities over a week, every morning beginning with the bell ringing--until Thursday when her brother runs away. The author communicates the complex emotions of individuals fleeing enslavement and the aftermath for those left behind. Through lush watercolors that expertly frame and highlight the characters, the reader is drawn into scenes of tenderness, joy, terror, and despair. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781442421134 Bold, painterly spreads by Ransome (Before She Was Harriet) give shape to the lives of a slave family whose days are ruled by the overseer's bell. On Monday, "The bell rings,/ and no sun in the sky./ Daddy gathers wood./ Mama cooks." Daddy; Mama; their son, Ben; and the narrator, Ben's little sister, sit close and share a meal. On Wednesday, Ben gives his sister a kiss and a handmade doll, whispering "Good-bye" before walking away with two companions. Thursday, the family realizes that Ben is really gone. "Overseer comes/ to our cabin./ Then dogs come./ Overseer hits Mama,/ then Daddy." The other boys are found, but not Ben: "We pray/ Ben made it./ Free like the birds." In an image of startling force, a flying swallow is seen darting off the last, blank page. Stories about escaping slaves often follow the journeys of those leaving; this one imagines what life was like for a family left behind. The recurring image of the bell throughout each day underscores the way slaves' lives were continually regimented and surveilled. Ransome's gracefully sculpted figures give Ben's family heroic stature; his story makes their hunger for freedom palpable. Ages 4-8. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Between Us and Abuela: A Family Story from the Border
 Mitali Perkins
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780374303730 PreS-Gr 2—A story of family strength and unity overcoming fences along the Mexican/United States border. Las Posadas (Spanish for inns) is a celebration in Mexico and some Latin American countries that takes place over the nine days before Christmas. The holiday commemorates the search for shelter by Mary and Joseph on the eve of Jesus's birth. On one of those nine days, La Posada Sin Fronteras takes place on the Mexican/United States border between San Diego and Tijuana. Friends and families gather on both sides of the forbidding double fence waiting to catch a glimpse of each other and hopefully exchange some words. In this fictional account, the author makes the heartbreaking event accessible to young children. Two children and their mother prepare to go to the celebration. They haven't seen their grandmother in five years, and the children have made presents for her: Maria has knit a scarf, and little Juan has made a cardboard drawing. Unfortunately, when the time comes, the children are unable to give Abuela her presents. The spaces in the fence are too small, and, besides, it's forbidden to pass anything through the fence. Maria solves the problem by tying the drawing up with her knitting yarn and flying it over the fence like a kite, all with the guards' permission. VERDICT Another poignant piece to add to the current national discussion about the border. A must for any collection.—Lucia Acosta, Children's Literature Specialist, Princeton, NJ
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780374303730 This touching contemporary story sensitively focuses on the U.S.-Mexican border and Mexico's cultural traditions in a heartwarming, informative, and hopeful way. Maria, Juan, and their mother are getting ready to visit Abuela on ""La Posada Sin Frontera,"" a celebratory day on which families on either side of the border are permitted to visit at the fence. In the warmth of anticipation, Maria and Juan make presents for Abuela, whom they haven't seen for five years, but in their excitement, they forget that they can't exchange anything through the fence. Perkins gently voices some of the challenges families can experience when they are separated by a border: physical limitations, time limits, and surveillance exacerbate the already difficult distance between loved ones. Maria's inventive solution to that distance will make readers cheer, and Palacios' warm illustrations in saturated colors make the scenes vibrant with feeling and quietly fold in informative visual details about the border and the family's cultural traditions. Pair this honest yet optimistic story with Yuyi Morales' Dreamers (2018).--Vivian Alvarez Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A Christmas fairy tale set at the border wall.Mara and Juan get on a border-bound bus with their mother. They haven't seen Abuela in five years. Both children have made gifts: a knitted scarf from Mara and a drawing of Mary and Joseph on cardboard from Juan. Arriving at the annual Posada Sin Fronteras event (the Inn Without Borders), the children must wait their turn in order to have 30 minutes with Abuela. Touching pinkies through a metal grid, they exchange love and family news. When it's time to say their goodbyes, Mara starts feeding the scarf through the small holes in the fence. A border patrol officer intercepts and takes the scarf. "We can't let anything through the fence." Orchestrating the requisite Christmas "miracle" to convey howling Juan's gift to his grandmother occupies about half the book and veers into fantasy. The sister transforms her brother's artwork into a kite with the knitting needles MacGyver-ed into spine and cross spar. With the unlikely encouragement of the officers, Mara successfully flies the kite over both the primary and secondary border fences/wallswhich is against the law. To the triumphant shouts of the crowd on both sides of the border, Abuela gets her happy ending. Perkins' fictionalized account of the actual annual gatherings at San Diego's Friendship Park paired with Palacios' chirpy illustrations inadvertently belie the heartbreak and human suffering played out every year. What's "between us and Abuela"? The same thing that's between the U.S. and Mexicoan 18-to-30-foot-high double fence. (Picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780374303730 Perkins, a YA author making a powerful picture book debut, and Palacios (How to Code a Sandcastle) have created a story based around La Posada Sin Fronteras ("The Inn Without Borders"), a San Diego-Tijuana border wall tradition that occurs during the nine-day festival of Las Posadas (an afterword provides more background). Maria; her little brother, Juan; and their mother take a bus to the U.S. side to hear the Christmas story, sing carols, worship with other separated families, and have a fleeting face-to-face moment through the fencing with beloved Abuela, who has traveled from her Mexican village to see them for the first time in five years. "For a moment," Maria says, "the fences are invisible." But when Border Patrol won't let Juan give Abuela his drawing of Mary and Joseph ("Inns No rume" the picture reads), Maria takes matters into her own hands and cleverly flies it over the wall as a kite. Cartoon drawings emphasize the resilience of Abuela and her family as they navigate the border landscape, the impenetrable wall, and a situation that feels unfathomable-but is, unfortunately, all too based in reality. Ages 3-6. (Sept.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
A Big Bed for Little Snow
Book Jacket   Grace Lin
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316478366 This companion to A Big Mooncake for Little Star, for which Lin won a Caldecott Honor, stars a boy, Little Snow. As his mother fills his puffy, gray-blue bed with feathers at winter’s start, she reminds him that “this bed is for sleeping, not jumping.” Naturally, the minute she leaves (“Little Snow listened to Mommy’s footsteps fade away”) and anytime she is absent, the child leaps onto his cloudlike bunk. When he does, “Tiny feathers squeezed out of his bed and fluttered down.” After a season’s worth of jumping, Little Snow springs so high and lands so hard on the bed that it tears, spilling the feathers. The next spread shows where all those feathers end up; though it’s not too hard to guess where that might be, the revelation charms (and reveals a glimpse of Little Snow’s predecessor). Classically drafted paintings of the child leaping and bouncing with his stuffed dachshund convey the joy of release and weightlessness. Lin skillfully uses the folded and creased snowflake shapes of the mother and child’s matching pajamas to convey the contours of their bodies underneath, giving their clothes a wonderfully otherworldly look. A beguiling contemporary origin story. Ages 4–8. Agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Oct.)
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316478366 At the start of winter, Little Snow's mother makes him a new bed. It's warm and filled with fluffy feathers, and Mommy knowingly reminds him that the bed is for sleeping, not jumping. Like all mischievous children, Little Snow cannot resist defying his mother, and as soon as he is alone, he does exactly what she said not to: jump, jump, jump! With each jump, a puff of feathers escapes from a split corner of the bouncy, cloud-like bed, but whenever he hears his mother coming, he pretends to be asleep. So it goes all winter, with Little Snow releasing more and more feathers until one day they're all gone and at just the right moment a secret is revealed. Lin's use of color, pattern, and white space stylistically similar to her Caldecott Honor Book A Big Mooncake for Little Star (2018) elegantly foreshadow the surprise. Lin might be onto something with her inventive visual approach, and her fans will appreciate this heartwarming tale of human nature.--Amina Chaudhri Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316478366 PreS-Gr 1—When Little Snow's mother makes him a big, round bed filled with warm feathers, the boy cannot resist jumping on it despite his Mommy's warning, "Remember…this bed is for sleeping, not jumping." Though he nods in agreement, every time his mom leaves the room, the mischievous tyke pounces. Little by little, tiny feathers escape until one day, a particularly energetic bounce produces a large tear creating an avalanche. "What a lot of feathers fell that day!" A double-spread reveals a panorama of snow-capped buildings with family-filled windows marveling at the snow-filled sky. When his mother notices the deflated bed, she smiles indulgently as the clever child points out that he's saved her the trouble of emptying the old feathers; she need only replace them next year. Both mother and child wear white pajamas with soft blue snowflakes against a stark white background. The plump, round bed is also light blue with a matching blanket and a little brown stuffed toy dachshund that serves as both pillow and cuddly. The endpapers feature white birds in flight against a pale blue sky. This heartwarming story offers a fanciful explanation of snow while capturing the love and playfulness between a mother and son. VERDICT A simple, sweet choice for a winter toddler storytime, bound to be a bedtime favorite.—Barbara Auerbach, Cairo Public Library, NY
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. At the beginning of winter, Little Snow's mother fills his big, sky-blue bed with feathers and reminds him that it is "for sleeping, not jumping."Of course, Little Snow cannot resist, and whenever Mommy isn't around, he jumps and jumps. Each time, some feathers fall from his cloud-shaped bed. At one point, he jumps extra high and the bed tears, releasing a sky full of feathers that falls in a blizzard of snow upon a city's rooftops. In what is clearly a companion to Lin's Caldecott Honor book A Big Mooncake for Little Star (2018), this book's color palette consists of a solid white negative space instead of black, and light-blue snowflakes adorn Little Snow's white pajamas. As before, a mischievous little protagonist with Asian features is the cause of a natural phenomenon that readers will recognize with satisfaction. The story is clever but simple, without the extra layers of cultural and natural complexity that made Lin's previous book so exceptional. Lin's gouache illustrations are an echo of that book as well, with Little Snow's pajama edges similarly bleeding into the background. It's still visually intriguing, but this time around, everything feels more stark than luminous. The most delightful spread is the most colorful one, as the snow falls over city buildings full of diverse children peering out the windows, enchanted.A sweet and clever modern myth that may send readers back to its lauded companion. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
The Bluest of Blues: Anna Atkins and the First Book of Photographs.
Book Jacket   Fiona Robinson
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781419725517 Cyanotypes, or sun prints, are blue-toned photographic prints created by placing an object on chemically treated paper and exposing it to sunlight. The result is a detailed, ghostly image surrounded by deep blue. Robinson embraces this aesthetic in her beautifully illustrated biography of Anna Atkins, a nineteenth-century botanist, artist, and early adopter of this photographic technique. The narrative text walks readers through Anna's childhood in England, exhibiting her close relationship with her scientist father, who fostered her interest in plants a rare opportunity granted to women in those days. As an adult, she created cyanotypes of her impressive plant collection, resulting in the first-known books of photographs. Robinson's cyan blue illustrations pop with occasional red or yellow accents, and blend pencil drawings with watercolor paintings, vintage prints, and photographs, including some of Anna's cyanotypes. Fascinating back matter includes instructions for making sun prints, institutions where Anna's cyanotypes can be seen, and notes on how Robinson created the book's unique illustrations. Pair with Margarita Engle's Summer Birds (2010) for a glimpse of another pioneering female scientist and illustrator.--Julia Smith Copyright 2018 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Robinson examines the life of Anna Atkins, whose childhood love of the natural world propelled a unique career.Born in England in 1799, Anna was raised by her scientist father after her mother's death. Father abets Anna's fascination with nature, fostering her scientific education. She becomes a botanist, collecting, cataloging, and illustrating British flora. The pair moves to London, where Father works at the British Museum. Anna marries John Pelly Atkins and continues work on her pressed-plant herbarium. Father's retirement occasions the family's return to the Kent countryside, where father and daughter explore their mutual zeal for a new technology: photography. Introduced to the cyanotype, whose chemical reaction produces permanent images, Anna harnesses the technique to share her botanical collections, producing several books under the demure nom de plume "A.A." As little is known of Anna's early life, Robinson's present-tense narrative imagines childhood scenes. Historical context highlights the British mania for worldwide plant collection (but does not connect it to imperialism) and the sexist constraints on women and girls pursuing career paths. Illustrations utilize the cyanotype's distinctive blue and white, with touches of red and yellow. A note details Robinson's process, including digital manipulation of Atkins' cyanotypes. (Other backmatter includes an author's note, cyanotype instructions, bibliography, resources for Atkins' works, and illustration credits.) The effete, white-skinned figural depictions, which infantilize the adult Atkins, detract from the otherwise handsomely designed package.An inventive look at a pioneering woman whose intellectual passions culminated in published works of beauty and scientific verisimilitude. (Picture book/biography. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781419725517 British botanist Anna Atkins used cyanotypes-photographic paper that turns blue in the sun-to publish the world's first book of photographs in 1843, a compendium of her extensive dried seaweed collection. Appropriately, the layered artwork in this picture book biography by Robinson (Ada's Ideas) is worked almost entirely in shades of blue, with the occasional red or yellow accent (a poppy, a ladybug, the sun's rays). Robinson's doll-like, romantic figures-Atkins has large eyes and round, rougelike spots on her cheeks-could skew sentimental, but the biography is detailed and informative. Atkins was lovingly reared and educated by her widowed father, and the two share a rich, loving partnership of teaching, plant collecting, and mutual encouragement as Anna grows into adulthood. A scientist friend introduces the pair to cyanotypes, and Anna sees that the medium will allow her to share her collection widely. "To my dearest father," reads her dedication (and Robinson's as well), "this attempt is affectionately inscribed." A valuable biography of an early female scientist-and a rare portrait of a father-daughter collaboration. Ages 6-9. Agent: Paul Rodeen, Rodeen Literary Management. (Feb.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781419725517 Gr 2-5-Raised by her scientist father, young Anna Atkins was introduced to a number of scientific ideas and methods and was encouraged to pursue her passions and education. Atkins became an avid collector of specimens from the natural world, shells and ferns and flowers among them, and learned to illustrate them with remarkable accuracy. When she was introduced to the new science of photography and cyanotypes (aka sun prints), Atkins's inspiration reached a peak and she began to catalog and photograph her enormous collection. Robinson's picture book biography is a loving tribute to this remarkable woman whose impressive contributions were recognized long after her passing. Openly acknowledging in the author's note that Atkins's childhood was lost to history, the author fills in the gaps with imagined scenes of her youth-somewhat of a misstep in an otherwise winsome work. Robinson's writing has an ethereal quality to it. The beautiful blues of the pencil drawings, watercolor washes, and original cyanotypes from Atkins's collection come together on each page as an immersive experience, creating an array of blue that limns Atkins's world. VERDICT A pleasing addition to most collections. Have readers enjoy independently or perhaps with sun print paper so that they can try their hand at cyanotype making.-Jody Kopple, Shady Hill School, Cambridge, MA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781419725517 Robinson's poetic biography of pioneering nineteenth-century botanist and photographer Anna Atkins unfortunately fictionalizes historical gaps--mainly regarding Atkins's childhood relationship with her father--with sentimental informed guesses. But the blue-hued illustrations sit alongside reproductions of Atkins's sketches and cyanotypes, resulting in blueprint-like illustrations that evoke nineteenth-century aesthetics while providing a clear picture of Atkins's work. An author's note and cyanotype instructions are included. Bib. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Brown: My Alter Ego Is a Superhero
 Hakon Ovreas
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Bullies spur a lad and two new friends to dress up as secret superheroes in this trilogy opener from Norway.Encouraged by the spectral figure of his just-deceased grandpa, Rusty sets out for payback after three punksidentified throughout as "Anton, Ruben, and the minister's son"wreck the clubhouse he and his friend Jack have laboriously constructed from scrap. As "Brown," dressed in a brown cape and mask, he sneaks out into the night to slap brown paint on Ruben's bicycle. Shortly after Rusty tells Jack about the feat, another masked marauder, "Black," repaints Anton's bike. Joined by a third confidante, styling herself "Blue, or the Blue Avenger," the trio sets out on one more nocturnal missiononly to discover that most of the stash of blue paint has disappeared. Still, there's enough to repaint the bikes of all three foes blue. The next day Rusty, overcome by guilt, is on the verge of confessingwhen he learns that his nemeses are now in deep doo-doo for several acts of mischief, notably splashing the local church's spire with blue "rude words." Off the hook! Small, fine-lined ink drawings with color highlights on nearly every page supply this tongue-in-cheek escapade with evocative vignettes depicting Rusty's flights of fancy, quizzical-looking parents and other grown-ups, and masked prowlers in homemade outfits. The cast defaults to white. Chucklebait for Wimpy Kid fans. (Fiction. 9-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781592702121 In this first in a series from Øvreås (The Heartless Troll) and one of Enchanted Lion’s early forays into middle grade, Rusty hopes that after his family moves to the country, he’ll be able to spend more time with his grandfather. Instead, his grandfather dies suddenly, and a trio of persistent neighborhood bullies adds to Rusty’s troubles. Unable to talk about his loss and pushed to the edge after the bullies destroy the fort he’s been building with his friend Jack, Rusty steals away in the night, dressed as “Brown,” a superhero, and defaces one of the bullies’ bikes with brown paint. Feeling empowered, Rusty begins to encounter his grandfather’s spirit, who seems to approve of his nightly heroic missions. He’s joined by tall tale–telling Jack and lonely Lou (the superheroes Black and Blue, respectively), and together, the three friends find courage and independence when acting as their alter egos. Rusty’s slow, rebellious processing of his grandfather’s death and his growing sense of self and agency will appeal to Roald Dahl fans. Simple line illustrations with splashes of color and texture from Torseter (My Father’s Arms Are a Boat) enhance the quirky, engaging story told in poignant, occasionally humorous prose. Ages 6–10. (June)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Bullies spur a lad and two new friends to dress up as secret superheroes in this trilogy opener from Norway.Encouraged by the spectral figure of his just-deceased grandpa, Rusty sets out for payback after three punksidentified throughout as "Anton, Ruben, and the minister's son"wreck the clubhouse he and his friend Jack have laboriously constructed from scrap. As "Brown," dressed in a brown cape and mask, he sneaks out into the night to slap brown paint on Ruben's bicycle. Shortly after Rusty tells Jack about the feat, another masked marauder, "Black," repaints Anton's bike. Joined by a third confidante, styling herself "Blue, or the Blue Avenger," the trio sets out on one more nocturnal missiononly to discover that most of the stash of blue paint has disappeared. Still, there's enough to repaint the bikes of all three foes blue. The next day Rusty, overcome by guilt, is on the verge of confessingwhen he learns that his nemeses are now in deep doo-doo for several acts of mischief, notably splashing the local church's spire with blue "rude words." Off the hook! Small, fine-lined ink drawings with color highlights on nearly every page supply this tongue-in-cheek escapade with evocative vignettes depicting Rusty's flights of fancy, quizzical-looking parents and other grown-ups, and masked prowlers in homemade outfits. The cast defaults to white. Chucklebait for Wimpy Kid fans. (Fiction. 9-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781592702121 In this first in a series from Øvreås (The Heartless Troll) and one of Enchanted Lion’s early forays into middle grade, Rusty hopes that after his family moves to the country, he’ll be able to spend more time with his grandfather. Instead, his grandfather dies suddenly, and a trio of persistent neighborhood bullies adds to Rusty’s troubles. Unable to talk about his loss and pushed to the edge after the bullies destroy the fort he’s been building with his friend Jack, Rusty steals away in the night, dressed as “Brown,” a superhero, and defaces one of the bullies’ bikes with brown paint. Feeling empowered, Rusty begins to encounter his grandfather’s spirit, who seems to approve of his nightly heroic missions. He’s joined by tall tale–telling Jack and lonely Lou (the superheroes Black and Blue, respectively), and together, the three friends find courage and independence when acting as their alter egos. Rusty’s slow, rebellious processing of his grandfather’s death and his growing sense of self and agency will appeal to Roald Dahl fans. Simple line illustrations with splashes of color and texture from Torseter (My Father’s Arms Are a Boat) enhance the quirky, engaging story told in poignant, occasionally humorous prose. Ages 6–10. (June)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Bullies spur a lad and two new friends to dress up as secret superheroes in this trilogy opener from Norway.Encouraged by the spectral figure of his just-deceased grandpa, Rusty sets out for payback after three punksidentified throughout as "Anton, Ruben, and the minister's son"wreck the clubhouse he and his friend Jack have laboriously constructed from scrap. As "Brown," dressed in a brown cape and mask, he sneaks out into the night to slap brown paint on Ruben's bicycle. Shortly after Rusty tells Jack about the feat, another masked marauder, "Black," repaints Anton's bike. Joined by a third confidante, styling herself "Blue, or the Blue Avenger," the trio sets out on one more nocturnal missiononly to discover that most of the stash of blue paint has disappeared. Still, there's enough to repaint the bikes of all three foes blue. The next day Rusty, overcome by guilt, is on the verge of confessingwhen he learns that his nemeses are now in deep doo-doo for several acts of mischief, notably splashing the local church's spire with blue "rude words." Off the hook! Small, fine-lined ink drawings with color highlights on nearly every page supply this tongue-in-cheek escapade with evocative vignettes depicting Rusty's flights of fancy, quizzical-looking parents and other grown-ups, and masked prowlers in homemade outfits. The cast defaults to white. Chucklebait for Wimpy Kid fans. (Fiction. 9-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781592702121 In this first in a series from Øvreås (The Heartless Troll) and one of Enchanted Lion’s early forays into middle grade, Rusty hopes that after his family moves to the country, he’ll be able to spend more time with his grandfather. Instead, his grandfather dies suddenly, and a trio of persistent neighborhood bullies adds to Rusty’s troubles. Unable to talk about his loss and pushed to the edge after the bullies destroy the fort he’s been building with his friend Jack, Rusty steals away in the night, dressed as “Brown,” a superhero, and defaces one of the bullies’ bikes with brown paint. Feeling empowered, Rusty begins to encounter his grandfather’s spirit, who seems to approve of his nightly heroic missions. He’s joined by tall tale–telling Jack and lonely Lou (the superheroes Black and Blue, respectively), and together, the three friends find courage and independence when acting as their alter egos. Rusty’s slow, rebellious processing of his grandfather’s death and his growing sense of self and agency will appeal to Roald Dahl fans. Simple line illustrations with splashes of color and texture from Torseter (My Father’s Arms Are a Boat) enhance the quirky, engaging story told in poignant, occasionally humorous prose. Ages 6–10. (June)
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2020 (Younger Readers)
The Book Hog
 Greg Pizzoli
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781368036894 The Japanese word tsundoku describes books that have piled up in a home without being read. Pizzoli's porcine protagonist certainly accumulates books-he's a relentless buyer and forager-and he adores each volume ("He loved the way they smelled, and the way the pages felt in his hooves. He especially liked the ones with pictures"). But reading procrastination is not his problem. Book Hog has a big secret: "He didn't know how to read. He had never learned." Then Book Hog discovers the library ("he smelled some books inside") and a whole community of book lovers, including a kind librarian whose attentiveness and story times inspire him-"over time, and with practice"-to become a reader. Pizzoli once again employs a candy-colored palette and an ebullient cast-the pink-and-green look, and even some of the characters, are reminiscent of his The Watermelon Seed. And, as always in a Pizzoli book, there are wonderful details: readers will note that the markings on spines of the books go from fuzzy lines to actual titles when the Book Hog learns to read, and that in one spread, he raptly stands right by the librarian's chair, clutching its arm as she reads aloud to the group. Who hasn't seen-or been-that kid? Ages 3-5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781368036894 In this celebration of books and reading, the titular pig owns many books, which he loves for their smell, texture, and pictures. It's therefore surprising to learn that he's illiterate. His discovery of library storytimes and eventual acquisition of literacy, with help from the elephant librarian, resolve his dilemma. Pizzoli's concise sentences and humorous, ingeniously detailed cartoon illustrations have great read-aloud appeal. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A porcine hoarder of books learns to readand to share.The Book Hog's obsession is clear from the start. Short declarative sentences describe his enthusiasm ("The Book Hog loved books"), catalog the things he likes about the printed page, and eventually reveal his embarrassing secret ("He didn't know how to read"). While the text is straightforward, plenty of amusing visual details will entertain young listeners. A picture of the Book Hog thumbing through a book while seated on the toilet should induce some giggles. The allusive name of a local bookshop ("Wilbur's") as well as the covers of a variety of familiar and much-loved books (including some of the author's own) offer plenty to pore over. And the fact that the titles become legible only after our hero learns to read is a particularly nice touch. A combination of vignettes, single-page illustrations and double-page spreads that feature Pizzoli's characteristic styleheavy black outlines, a limited palette of mostly salmon and mint green, and simple shapesmove the plot along briskly. Librarians will appreciate the positive portrayal of Miss Olive, an elephant who welcomes the Book Hog warmly to storytime, though it's unlikely most will be able to match her superlative level of service.There's nothing especially new here, but the good-natured celebration of books, reading, and libraries will charm fellow bibliophiles, and the author's fans will enjoy making another anthropomorphic animal friend. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781368036894 A beret-sporting pig adores books so much that he acquires them anywhere at yard sales and indie bookstores and savors them everywhere in a tent and on the toilet. Yet as much as he's drawn to their look, feel, and smell, he harbors a secret shame: he can't decode the words inside them. Or he can't, at least, until he catches a whiff of the public library and meets Miss Olive, a spectacle-sporting elephant-slash-librarian who offers him kindness and patience. With lots of practice, he becomes not just a book lover but also a book reader. The pro-library artwork is bold, with happily Pizzolian graphic lines and shapes; bright, with wonderfully audacious pinks and greens; and bookish, sneakily integrating a few familiar book covers (and even a maker space to boot). The characters' expressions are amusing, the straightforward sentences are well structured, and it all works together to truly create a book that readers will be eager to hog.--Andrew Medlar Copyright 2019 Booklist
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2020 (Younger Readers)
The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature for Generations to Come.
Book Jacket   Sue Macy
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781481472203 Gr 1–4—Aaron Lansky could not forget what his grandmother told him as a child. At the age of 16, she immigrated to the United States from Eastern Europe. In his twenties, Lansky decided to find out more about his grandmother's stories, which set him on a journey to learn how to speak and read Yiddish and to also locate Yiddish books. The result is the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, MA. Lansky's story is a fascinating one, filled with book rescues and meeting older people who not only treasure books but what they represent. His disappointments and rewards in pursuing this passion are well portrayed. The narrative is both informative and engaging and includes Yiddish words, many of which have been incorporated into English. All appear in a glossary. An afterword by Lansky himself brings the Center and his work up to date. Illustrations intentionally call to mind the bold line and semi-abstraction of Russian-born artist Marc Chagall. VERDICT A potentially valuable addition to both school and public libraries as well as Jewish schools. Echoing Carole Boston Weatherford's Schomburg: The Man Who Built a Library, the book's narrative shows that pursuing interests can lead to meaningful and long-lasting results.—Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781481472203 Yiddish was a dying language (it's still not robust) when a young man, Aaron Lansky, decided to save it. Macy begins the story several generations back, with Lansky's grandmother arriving in America: her suitcase was thrown in the ocean by her brother out with the old, in with the new. Flash-forward to the 1970s, and Aaron is in college, studying Jewish history, and he wants to read books in the common language of European Jews in past centuries, Yiddish. But after the Holocaust and the diaspora of European Jewry, the number of people speaking Yiddish plummeted. Yiddish books were also disappearing, so Lansky decided to make it his mission to rescue them and his ancestors' heritage. Macy's text details how Lansky's pursuit took him out in all kinds of weather, to all kinds of places, where elderly Jews gave him an education in their lives and the importance of their books. An afterword by Lansky tells readers about the Yiddish Book Center, a vibrant organization that, among many other things, fosters learning the language. The story comes alive through the bold acrylic and gouache art, which illustrator Innerst says was inspired by the ""exuberant motifs"" of Marc Chagall. He finds drama in faces, profundity in the weight and number of books. The most outstanding spread places a shtetl on Yiddish pages that resemble matzo. Yiddish appears throughout the text; a glossary explains the words.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2019 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. One young man seeks out a unique collection of Yiddish books to preserve them and their lost world.Growing up, Aaron Lansky remembered the story of his grandmother's immigration to America. She had just one worn suitcase, filled with books in Yiddish and Sabbath candlestickswhich her brother tossed into the water upon greeting her. It was of the Old World, and she was in the New World. Lansky loved reading but realized that to pursue his interest in Jewish literature he would have to study Yiddish, his grandmother's language. His search for books in Yiddish led to one rabbi about to bury a pile, which led to years of rescuing books from dumpsters and then building a depository for them and for the thousands of subsequent donations. Lansky visited many of the donors and heard their emotional stories. Now a well-established resource in Amherst, Massachusetts, his Yiddish Book Center is digitized, with free downloads, and conducts educational programs. Macy's text beautifully and dramatically tells this story while noting the powerful influence of Yiddish writing in the lives of Jews. Innerst's acrylic and gouache artwork, with the addition of digitized fabric textures, is stunning in its homage to Marc Chagall and its evocation of an Eastern European world that has physically vanished but is alive in these pages of beautifully realized imagery.For lovers of books and libraries. (afterword by Lansky, author's note, illustrator's note, Yiddish glossary, further resources, source notes, photographs) (Picture book/biography. 7-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781481472203 Aaron Lansky's difficulty in finding Yiddish novels for his college studies led him to collect books first for his own purposes, then for the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Massachusetts (which he founded), starting in 1980. Stories of how he obtained them--meetings ‘over tea and cake and lokshn kugl’ with older Jews; a late-night dash to a dumpster--lend both human interest and a sense of urgency to the mission. Painterly illustrations give readers plenty to peruse, with sprinkled Yiddish words and visual references to Jewish history and culture. Reading list. Glos. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781481472203 This inspired pairing of two top picture book biographers tells the story of Aaron Lansky, an “all-American boy” (a Star Trek poster decorates his bedroom) who in college became convinced that Yiddish books represented the “portable homeland” of the Jewish people. With Yiddish dying out after the Holocaust and little mainstream support (“Yiddish was a language whose time had passed”), Lansky learned the language, then began saving Yiddish books any way he could. He pulled nearly 5,000 out of a dumpster and accepted “one book at a time” from elderly owners (“We didn’t eat much,” one book donor tearfully tells him, “but we always bought a book. It was a necessity of life”). Founded in 1980, Lansky’s Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, Mass., is today home to 1.5 million rescued books and is a hub of Yiddish studies. Innerst (Ruth Bader Ginsburg), who notes in an afterword that his illustrations were inspired by Chagall, contributes dramatic, textural acrylic and gouache images, with sculptural figures, expressionistic settings, and the deep, rich tones of vintage book bindings. Evoking both a lost past and an urgent present, they’re a marvelous complement to the journalistic, propulsive narrative by Macy (Motor Girls). Ages 5–8. (Oct.)
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Carter Reads the Newspaper
Book Jacket   Deborah Hopkinson
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781561459346 Gr 1-3-A picture book biography about how Carter G. Woodson became known as the "father of Black History" that also highlights the importance of literacy and being an informed citizen. Woodson, a child of formerly enslaved parents, grew up listening to family and friend's stories and reading the newspaper to his father. As a coal miner, he met Oliver Jones, a veteran of the Civil War, who opened his house to other miners and would prompt Woodson to read the newspaper out loud. Hopkinson presents this as a pivotal moment of solidarity, alternative schooling, and a stirring within Woodson to pursue more knowledge about the histories and lives of black people. Tate's mixed media artwork complements these scenes perfectly, communicating camaraderie and inspiration in scenes overlaid backgrounds of newspaper print. After receiving his PhD from Harvard, Woodson created Negro History Week by sending out pamphlets of information to communities around the United States. Hopkinson frames this as a response to one of Carter's professors at Harvard who said that black people had no history. The narrative ends with an image of an older Woodson reading the paper and the reminder that Woodson changed history "and we can too." Thorough back matter, including an author and illustrator's note, and end pages featuring sketches of past and contemporary figures-Hannibal Barca, Edmonia Lewis, Colin Kaepernick-concludes this volume. VERDICT A charmingly illustrated picture book biography for elementary schoolers.-Lisa Nabel, Kitsap Regional Library, WA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781561459346 Hopkinson's inspiring story explains how young Carter G. Woodson (1875–1950) read the newspaper to his father and fellow coal miners. Their desire to be informed citizens, plus a challenge from his Harvard professor, led Woodson to later establish Negro History Week, predecessor to Black History Month. Tate's engaging mixed-media illustrations and endpaper drawings include portraits of Black leaders throughout history. Timeline, websites. Bib. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781561459346 In her conversational biography of Carter G. Woodson, whose work led to the establishment of Black History Month, Hopkinson (Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen) acknowledges that he is a hero "we sometimes forget." It focuses on his Virginia upbringing and the admirable individuals who inspired him, including his father, James Henry Woodson, who escaped slavery to join the Union Army and "gave Carter the courage to look anyone in the eye and declare, 'I am your equal.''" Reading newspapers to his illiterate father gave the boy his "first glimpse of the wider world," a vision enhanced by a friend and fighter for equality, Oliver Jones, who taught Woodson to learn "through others." Woodson became the second African-American (after W.E.B. Du Bois) to earn a PhD in history from Harvard. Told by a professor that "Black people had no history," Woodson set out to prove otherwise, and established Negro History Week in 1926, which endures today as Black History Month. Delicately textured mixed-media illustrations by Tate (The Cart That Carried Martin) offer spare, stylized images of this lesser-known crusader, as well as portraits of other African-American leaders. A bibliography, list of black leaders, and timeline conclude the volume. Ages 6-10. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. This biography of the "father of Black History," Dr. Carter G. Woodson, highlights experiences that shaped his passion.Carter was born after the Civil War, but his parents had been slaves, and he grew up hearing the stories of their lives. With six siblings, Carter experienced lean times as a boy. Carter's father, who couldn't read or write, had Carter read the newspaper aloud. As a teenager, Carter had to work to help his family. In the coal mines, he met Oliver Jones, a Civil War veteran who opened his small home to the other men as a reading room. There, Carter once again took on the role of reader, informing Oliver and his friends of what was in the paperand then researching to tell them more. After three years in the mines, he moved home to continue his education, eventually earning a Ph.D. from Harvard, where a professor challenged him to prove that his people had a history. In 1926 he established Negro History Week, which later became Black History Month. Hopkinson skillfully shapes Carter's childhood, family history, and formative experiences into a cohesive story. The soft curves and natural palette of Tate's illustrations render potentially scary episodes manageable for young readers, and portraits of historical figures offer an opening to further discovery. The incorporation of newsprint into many page backgrounds artfully echoes the title, and the inclusion of notable figures from black history reinforces the theme (a key is in the backmatter).An important and inspiring tale well told. (author's note, illustrator's note, resources, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781561459346 It's easy to take an established practice for granted and forget that someone, sometime, had the original inspiration for it. This picture-book biography tells of Carter G. Woodson, an educator and civil rights leader, who introduced Negro History Week the precursor of Black History Month back in 1926. Young readers will be caught up in his story. The youngest of seven children and a child of formerly enslaved people, he became largely self-educated by reading the newspaper out loud to his illiterate father (Woodson eventually went on to receive a PhD from Harvard). Quotes are seamlessly woven into the narrative, and a time line, list of sources, and bibliography add research appeal. Of special note are the illustrations, which include more than 40 portraits of black leaders, either blended into the narrative or appearing on end pages. Notables range from Hannibal Barca, circa 200 BCE, to Michelle and Barack Obama. Their images and one-line biographies will pique further interest, making this a valuable resource for school and public libraries.--Kathleen McBroom Copyright 2018 Booklist
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Chick and Brain: Smell My Foot!
 Cece Bell
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A comedic duo stars in their first comica playful homage to the Dick and Jane books. Brain certainly looks smart. But, by Chick's assessment, Brain's social ineptitude says otherwise. Chick minds their p's and q's, modeling proper behavior for Brain to emulate. Brain takes Chick's repeat-after-me lessons a bit too literally, however. Instead of copying, Brain responds directlyoften hilariously off-script. In exchange after exchange, the pair's silly chemistry peaks with the human and the bird smelling each other's feet. Soon, a dog named Spot arrives on the scene, adding their nose to the mix. All that foot sniffingspecifically, yummy chicken foot sniffingprompts Spot to invite Chick over for an exclusive lunch. Will Chick see through Spot's politeness before winding up on the menu? In this first series entry, Bell flips the repetitive primer structure on its head and transforms it into a winning oddball comedy. With a limited vocabulary of around 120 wordsexclusively presented through dialoguethe four-chapter story is a careful blend of verbal and visual humor. The comic-book format, with usually one to four panels per page, heightens the silly factor with well-placed punchlines. Bell's highly expressive watercolor and ink cartoon illustrations set characters against sparse backgrounds. It's up to readers to decide whether the wrinkly gray mass atop white-presenting Brain's head is tightly curled gray hair or an exposed brain. Fragrant fun for first readers. (Graphic early reader. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763679361 K-Gr 2—Bell (El Deafo; I Yam a Donkey!; "Rabbit & Robot") returns with another story about grammar, miscommunication, and odd couple friends. In this graphic novel send-up of the "Dick and Jane" primers, Brain, clad only in heart-patterned boxers and sporting either an external brain or a gray hairdo that resembles one, is trying to convince a politeness-obsessed chick to smell his foot. Chick criticizes Brain's phrasing ("I will not smell your foot until you say PLEASE") and intelligence ("Brain, you look very smart…But you are not very smart"). This focus on manners at the expense of kindness almost causes Chick to miss out on what turns out to be Brain's truly alluring foot odor. When Spot the dog wanders by, sniffs Chick's foot, and invites the oblivious bird to lunch (as the intended main course), Brain comes to Chick's rescue by knocking Spot out with the aroma from his (apparently stinky) other foot. New readers may be thrown by the beats of Chick and Brain's dialogue, since the humor relies on unexpected responses (as in the opening exchange: "HELLO, BRAIN." "Yeah, I know. I am Brain.") and discussion of conversational norms. However, the short length and engagingly goofy art—reminiscent of James Proimos's "Johnny Mutton" series—will be a draw for kids who love quirky characters and the amusing premise. VERDICT Although not as successful as Bell's best work, and potentially confusing for some new readers, this hilariously wacky tale will resonate with many children.–Miriam DesHarnais, Towson University, MD
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763679361 You would not expect a book called Smell My Foot to be about good manners. Pleases and thank-yous are at a high premium, though, as Chick (a baby chicken) instructs his friend Brain (a large underwear-clad human with an exposed brain) in social niceties. In contention: the smelling of Brain's foot, which he claims has a great aroma. Chick, however, won't come near it without a polite greeting and formal invitation. The shoe is on the other foot, so to speak, when Spot (a hungry dog) joins in and his attempt to eat Chick can only by foiled by Brain's secret weapon: his other foot. It's as silly as it sounds, just the way budding readers like it, and the word and sentence repetition are good for literacy development as well as remembering your manners. Boisterous art matches the situations with goofy figures in hyperbolic positions, and young readers will love seeing the danger coming before the characters do. A viable Elephant & Piggie alternative for slightly more advanced readers.--Jesse Karp Copyright 2019 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780763679361 The title says it all: this early reader comic by Newbery Honor author Bell features plenty of bonkers humor. Four vignettes pair Chick, a dainty yellow bird, with a clonking human called Brain, who possesses an exposed brain, a pair of heart-printed boxer shorts, and huge feet. Chick wants Brain to be polite: “No, Brain, no. I say Hello, Brain. Then you say Hello, Chick.” Brain does not want to be polite, and he does not mind when Chick indicates he is not very smart. Instead, he says, “Smell my foot!” Weirdly, Brain’s foot smells great. Bell’s ink-and-wash panel artwork zeroes in on the characters’ faces and gestures. In the second tale, Spot the dog appears. He likes chicken and invites Chick for lunch. For lunch? Comic tension mounts as Chick, oblivious to danger, lectures the dog: “You did not say thank you for the salt.” Spot’s eyes narrow. “GRRRR,” he says. “THANK.” “YOU. “FOR.” “THE.” “SALT.” Thank goodness for Brain, whose secret weapon neutralizes Spot. Simple vocabulary packed with tension and humor keeps readers’ interest high. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carre?layed the Piano for President Lincoln.
 Margarita Engle
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Venezuelan pianist Teresa Carreo performs for President Abraham Lincoln amid a raging Civil War in Engle and Lpez's portrait of an artist.Thanks to parental encouragement, Teresita learned about "all the beautiful / dark and light keys / of a piano" at an early age. By the age of 6, she composed original songs. Revolucin in Venezuela soon drove an 8-year-old Teresa and her family to sail across the stormy sea to the United States, but the Carreo family arrived only to find another violent conflict"the horrible Civil War"in their adopted country. Despite the initial alienation that comes from being in an unfamiliar country, Teresita continued to improve and play "graceful waltzes and sonatas, / booming symphonies, and lively folk songs." The Piano Girl's reputation spread far, eventually garnering the attention of Lincoln, who invited the 10-year-old to perform at the White House! Yet the Civil War festered on, tormenting Teresita, who wished to alleviate the president's burdens for at least one night. "How could music soothe / so much trouble?" Half biographical sketch, half wide-eyed tribute, Engle and Lpez's collaboration endearingly builds to Teresa's fateful meeting with Lincoln like a gravitational pull, with bursts of compassion and admiration for both artist and public servant. Engle's free verse whirls and twirls, playful and vivacious, while Lpez's vivid, colorful artwork elevates this story to heavenly heights. Like a concerto for the heart. (historical note) (Informational picture book. 4-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781481487405 Engle and López pair up again to bring equality to the arts in this picture-book biography of pianist and composer Teresa Carreño. More detailed than their Pura Belpré Honor Book, Drum Dream Girl (2015), the lyrical, imagery-rich text alternates between prose and free verse as it describes Teresa's early childhood in Venezuela in the mid-1800s. When a revolution tears through the country, the young prodigy and her family move to New York, where she feels like an oddity and where a civil war also wreaks havoc. Concerts around the world, however, spare the newly proclaimed Piano Girl from much of this pain. An invitation from the White House to play for the grieving President Lincoln and his family almost turns disastrous due to a poorly tuned piano, but Teresa's perseverance saves the evening in the story's climax. Patterned mixed-media illustrations use color to evoke the lushness of Venezuela, the darkness of war, and the beauty of music. Concluding with a historical note, the biography's vibrant images and language form a melodious composition.--Angela Leeper Copyright 2019 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781481487405 PreS-Gr 2—Teresa Carreño achieved global fame as a performer, composer, pianist, and opera singer. By the age of six, she was composing. At the age of seven, she began performing. Revolution in Venezuela forced the Carreño family to migrate to New York, an unfamiliar place where few people spoke Spanish and her family felt out of place. But war would follow them—in 1863 the United States was in the midst of the Civil War. At the age of 10, Carreño was invited to play for President Abraham Lincoln and his family at the White House. But will a poorly tuned piano diminish her performance? This is a story of overcoming fear and using one's talents to spark joy despite unforeseen obstacles. Author and illustrator are well paired in this interesting narrative. Darks and lights, whether representing world events or the colors of the piano keys, are recurring themes that Engle cleverly entwines in her at times poetic writing. López's illustrations practically leap from the page as they mirror the tone of events—bright and beautiful when the story is light; dark, drab, and gray when echoing conflict. A historical note in the back matter provides slightly more insight, but Engle's writing occasionally seems to take liberties with individual characters' thoughts and emotions with little supporting evidence. VERDICT Despite the efficacy of the author and illustrator collaboration, the historical facts remain somewhat sketchy throughout the narrative. A gentle title to add cultural insight to any collection, though possibly best for larger budgets.—Rebecca Gueorguiev, New York Public Library
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781481487405 In the dark days of the Civil War, a girl named Teresa Carreño sat down at a badly tuned piano to play for a special audience: Abraham Lincoln and his family. This book tells the story of how a young refugee from Venezuela comforted the grieving president with her music. Music helps Carreño express her feelings and cope with her family’s emigration to the U.S.—“Without a new piano, Teresa would have felt even more lonely.... Teresa practiced... her strong hands accepting the challenges of life’s many dark and light moods.” Her reputation as a prodigy leads to an invitation at the White House. Intimidated, she tries her best—“the memory of meeting past challenges now helped her fingers dance.” López’s swirling colors, soaring birds, and scattered notes conjure music’s transportive powers amid the countries’ war-torn landscapes, complementing Engle’s text, and building “hymns... shimmered like hummingbirds.” Ages 4–8. (Aug.)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Venezuelan pianist Teresa Carreo performs for President Abraham Lincoln amid a raging Civil War in Engle and Lpez's portrait of an artist.Thanks to parental encouragement, Teresita learned about "all the beautiful / dark and light keys / of a piano" at an early age. By the age of 6, she composed original songs. Revolucin in Venezuela soon drove an 8-year-old Teresa and her family to sail across the stormy sea to the United States, but the Carreo family arrived only to find another violent conflict"the horrible Civil War"in their adopted country. Despite the initial alienation that comes from being in an unfamiliar country, Teresita continued to improve and play "graceful waltzes and sonatas, / booming symphonies, and lively folk songs." The Piano Girl's reputation spread far, eventually garnering the attention of Lincoln, who invited the 10-year-old to perform at the White House! Yet the Civil War festered on, tormenting Teresita, who wished to alleviate the president's burdens for at least one night. "How could music soothe / so much trouble?" Half biographical sketch, half wide-eyed tribute, Engle and Lpez's collaboration endearingly builds to Teresa's fateful meeting with Lincoln like a gravitational pull, with bursts of compassion and admiration for both artist and public servant. Engle's free verse whirls and twirls, playful and vivacious, while Lpez's vivid, colorful artwork elevates this story to heavenly heights. Like a concerto for the heart. (historical note) (Informational picture book. 4-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781481487405 Engle and López pair up again to bring equality to the arts in this picture-book biography of pianist and composer Teresa Carreño. More detailed than their Pura Belpré Honor Book, Drum Dream Girl (2015), the lyrical, imagery-rich text alternates between prose and free verse as it describes Teresa's early childhood in Venezuela in the mid-1800s. When a revolution tears through the country, the young prodigy and her family move to New York, where she feels like an oddity and where a civil war also wreaks havoc. Concerts around the world, however, spare the newly proclaimed Piano Girl from much of this pain. An invitation from the White House to play for the grieving President Lincoln and his family almost turns disastrous due to a poorly tuned piano, but Teresa's perseverance saves the evening in the story's climax. Patterned mixed-media illustrations use color to evoke the lushness of Venezuela, the darkness of war, and the beauty of music. Concluding with a historical note, the biography's vibrant images and language form a melodious composition.--Angela Leeper Copyright 2019 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781481487405 PreS-Gr 2—Teresa Carreño achieved global fame as a performer, composer, pianist, and opera singer. By the age of six, she was composing. At the age of seven, she began performing. Revolution in Venezuela forced the Carreño family to migrate to New York, an unfamiliar place where few people spoke Spanish and her family felt out of place. But war would follow them—in 1863 the United States was in the midst of the Civil War. At the age of 10, Carreño was invited to play for President Abraham Lincoln and his family at the White House. But will a poorly tuned piano diminish her performance? This is a story of overcoming fear and using one's talents to spark joy despite unforeseen obstacles. Author and illustrator are well paired in this interesting narrative. Darks and lights, whether representing world events or the colors of the piano keys, are recurring themes that Engle cleverly entwines in her at times poetic writing. López's illustrations practically leap from the page as they mirror the tone of events—bright and beautiful when the story is light; dark, drab, and gray when echoing conflict. A historical note in the back matter provides slightly more insight, but Engle's writing occasionally seems to take liberties with individual characters' thoughts and emotions with little supporting evidence. VERDICT Despite the efficacy of the author and illustrator collaboration, the historical facts remain somewhat sketchy throughout the narrative. A gentle title to add cultural insight to any collection, though possibly best for larger budgets.—Rebecca Gueorguiev, New York Public Library
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781481487405 In the dark days of the Civil War, a girl named Teresa Carreño sat down at a badly tuned piano to play for a special audience: Abraham Lincoln and his family. This book tells the story of how a young refugee from Venezuela comforted the grieving president with her music. Music helps Carreño express her feelings and cope with her family’s emigration to the U.S.—“Without a new piano, Teresa would have felt even more lonely.... Teresa practiced... her strong hands accepting the challenges of life’s many dark and light moods.” Her reputation as a prodigy leads to an invitation at the White House. Intimidated, she tries her best—“the memory of meeting past challenges now helped her fingers dance.” López’s swirling colors, soaring birds, and scattered notes conjure music’s transportive powers amid the countries’ war-torn landscapes, complementing Engle’s text, and building “hymns... shimmered like hummingbirds.” Ages 4–8. (Aug.)
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781481487405 Teresa Carreño (1853–1917) learned to play piano early in life. When she was eight, her family fled war-torn Venezuela and moved to New York, where she became a well-known child prodigy. Her status provided her with the extraordinary chance to play for President Lincoln, still grieving his young son’s death. Engle’s writing shines; López’s vivid illustrations evoke characters and historical settings with absorbing detail. Appended with a brief historical note. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Dinosaur Feathers
Book Jacket   Dennis Nolan
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Viewers get ringside seats as dinosaurs march past in an evolutionary parade, giving way to their modern avian representatives.Nolan crafts a rhymed cadence that is itself an achievement"Ceratosaurus / Allosaurus / Archaeopteryx / Mamenchisaurus / Kentrosaurus / And Caudipteryx"but pales next to the brightly patterned, hyper-realistically detailed, and, increasingly often, gloriously feathered dinos marching by the dozens in close company across spacious pages. Just over halfway through, a flaming asteroid descending in the background signals a sudden change to an equally magnificent, more-contemporary cast whose feathers likewise "grew, and grew, and grew. / Flamingos, Owls, / Guineafowls, / And the Marabou." The portraits are all full-body, rendered (at least roughly) to scale, and with a low or level angle of view that sets them off to fine effect. Dino names throughout are matched to phonetic spellings, and a visual index at the back offers additional quick facts for every marcher. Following the image of a sinuous tree of life being studied by a racially diverse group of human offspring, a final rank of sprightly sauropod hatchlings fondly supervised by a humongous parent finishes off the parade on a homey note.A prehistoric progress that takes flight in more ways than one. (recommended books and museums) (Informational picture book. 5-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780823443307 It's hard to believe that the flock of pigeons in the park is comprised of dinosaur descendants, but that's the delightful truth. Nolan explores how those little birds evolved from their fearsome and often feathered forefathers, through splendid rhyming text that examines both the dinosaurs of old as well as their current incarnations as common birds. He touches on both general animal behavior and specific names of dinosaurs and birds with incredibly helpful pronunciation guides along the way. The poetic form lends itself to some wonderful tongue-twisting pairings who would have thought that you could find a satisfying rhyme for Archaeopteryx? The clever writing is accompanied by truly stunning illustrations; the dinosaurs, so often portrayed in dull earth tones, almost burst off these pages in a glorious array of colors rendered in exquisitely detailed paintings, and their avian descendants are given the same spectacular treatment. If readers crave more information after the jaunty poetry, back matter includes more basic details about each dinosaur and bird (covering a whopping total of 96 genera), along with a brief but beautiful introduction to the concept of evolution in the natural world. Parents may find themselves with both a budding paleontologist and ornithologist by the time this book is put down.--Emily Graham Copyright 2010 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780823443307 Nolan beautifully pairs a clever rhyming text with luminous watercolors to express, for very young readers, the evolutionary link between several-million-year-old dinosaurs and modern-day birds. The poem's second half celebrates the varied bird species that evolved from their reptilian ancestors. Back matter includes a thumbnail index for featured dinosaurs and birds (including name, pronunciation, Latin translation, size, geographical location, time period), a illustration depicting four billion years of life on Earth, and a helpful description of the dinosaurs' evolution from reptiles to birds. Reading list, timeline. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Viewers get ringside seats as dinosaurs march past in an evolutionary parade, giving way to their modern avian representatives.Nolan crafts a rhymed cadence that is itself an achievement"Ceratosaurus / Allosaurus / Archaeopteryx / Mamenchisaurus / Kentrosaurus / And Caudipteryx"but pales next to the brightly patterned, hyper-realistically detailed, and, increasingly often, gloriously feathered dinos marching by the dozens in close company across spacious pages. Just over halfway through, a flaming asteroid descending in the background signals a sudden change to an equally magnificent, more-contemporary cast whose feathers likewise "grew, and grew, and grew. / Flamingos, Owls, / Guineafowls, / And the Marabou." The portraits are all full-body, rendered (at least roughly) to scale, and with a low or level angle of view that sets them off to fine effect. Dino names throughout are matched to phonetic spellings, and a visual index at the back offers additional quick facts for every marcher. Following the image of a sinuous tree of life being studied by a racially diverse group of human offspring, a final rank of sprightly sauropod hatchlings fondly supervised by a humongous parent finishes off the parade on a homey note.A prehistoric progress that takes flight in more ways than one. (recommended books and museums) (Informational picture book. 5-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780823443307 It's hard to believe that the flock of pigeons in the park is comprised of dinosaur descendants, but that's the delightful truth. Nolan explores how those little birds evolved from their fearsome and often feathered forefathers, through splendid rhyming text that examines both the dinosaurs of old as well as their current incarnations as common birds. He touches on both general animal behavior and specific names of dinosaurs and birds with incredibly helpful pronunciation guides along the way. The poetic form lends itself to some wonderful tongue-twisting pairings who would have thought that you could find a satisfying rhyme for Archaeopteryx? The clever writing is accompanied by truly stunning illustrations; the dinosaurs, so often portrayed in dull earth tones, almost burst off these pages in a glorious array of colors rendered in exquisitely detailed paintings, and their avian descendants are given the same spectacular treatment. If readers crave more information after the jaunty poetry, back matter includes more basic details about each dinosaur and bird (covering a whopping total of 96 genera), along with a brief but beautiful introduction to the concept of evolution in the natural world. Parents may find themselves with both a budding paleontologist and ornithologist by the time this book is put down.--Emily Graham Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Do Fish Sleep?
Book Jacket   Jens Raschke
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781592702855 This heartrending story by German writer Raschke is narrated by 10-year-old Jette, who describes the death of her terminally ill six-year-old brother Emil in unvarnished prose (“He lay there completely still. And pale, like yogurt”). Her parents are too devastated to offer much comfort. Earlier on, when Emil wasn’t as ill and they were on vacation, Jette asked her father whether fish could sleep. “Dad gave me a funny look and mumbled something. I saw that he didn’t know.” It’s an early hint that the parents she depends on are as lost as she is. Another time, Jette and Emil talk frankly about death, and she offers Emil a version of Heaven that he likes: “pizza heaven, where he can eat as much pizza as he wants all day.” Cartoonish drawings by Rassmus contribute to the straightforwardly painful mood, as when Jette is seen in the back of her car on the way to the funeral home with Emil’s seat empty beside her. Brutally honest about the suffering that follows the death of a young sibling, Raschke’s narrative is at once excruciating, honest, and compelling. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Double Bass Blues.
 Andrea J. Loney
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781524718527 Young Nic plays an epic bass solo with his school orchestra and then travels across town to jam with a band made up of older musicians in this briefly worded tale of a boy who loves making music. A growling dog, a couple of teasing kids, a crowded bus, a cloudburst, and a broken elevator are not enough to discourage the boy from reaching his destination. Onomatopoeia and dialogue make up the few words used in the text. Gutierrez's acrylic paintings in rich colors exude movement and energy while delineating the sounds of the child's day, which he plays on his bass. Musical notes and measures decorate some pictures, while others show Nic in the background as he trudges along the street, carrying his huge bass. One intriguing double spread reveals an M. C. Escher-like staircase that seems endless to Nic as he lugs his instrument to his destination. The dreamy look on Nic's face clearly reveals the ""zone"" he enters when playing music, and readers will understand that Nic's talent brings him great joy.--Maryann Owen Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A young musician is inspired by the beat and rhythm of his commute.Nic's journey begins with an enthusiastic "Ziiiiiiiiiiip!" and a contemplative "Hummmmm" as he's applauded in orchestra. Then, with his double bass strapped to his back, he trades the trees and space of his suburban school for towering buildings and city buses. He dodges dogs, bullies, and rain, hustling home to warm hugs and a jazz jam session replete with onomatopoeic improvisations taken from his commute. The, "whoosh" of the bus's windshield wipers pairs with the "plunk" of rain and the "clap" of his classmates as Nic releases the sounds and sights of the afternoon through his music. Acrylic-paint illustrations include geometric squiggles and swirls that outline and emphasize musical vibrations and the spare, expressive text. Defined shapes are rendered in a vibrant palette that brings out the range of colors present in the characters' skin tones. Nic, who presents black, is a blend of blues, blacks, golds, and reds, with his boxy, spiked hair a muted mixture of oranges, browns, pinks, and greens. One exceptional double-page spread uses interlocking triangles to separate scenes that capture Nic's movement from the suburbs to the city. This journey is also expressed in the stenciled endpapers, the front showing Nic in his orchestra and the back, at home, jamming.Simple language complements complex paintings to create the perfect literary melody. (Picture book. 4-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781524718527 Gr 1–3—In an explosion of vibrant color (thanks to Rudy Gutierrez's liquid acrylics), young Nic wins kudos for his double bass solo with the school orchestra, but faces a tough journey home. Lugging his beloved (but bulky) bull fiddle, the boy is harassed and taunted on his long trip, and is finally faced with an out-of-service elevator and multiple flights of stairs. Happily, he finds not only his loving grandfather waiting for him, but some of granddaddy's jazz-playing buddies sitting with their instruments at the ready, sorely in need of that boy and his bull fiddle. Colorful, full of movement, limited in text but loaded with emotion, this is an ode to the diversity of music and the determination of a talented kid. VERDICT A dramatic and emotional selection for older readers than the usual picture book audience, particularly kids who love music and have had their own tough journeys home. —Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781524718527 A young double bass player faces obstacles en route to his grandfather’s house in this visual ode to the blues. Resting his cheek alongside melodic vibrations emanating from the instrument, Nic, who is black, seems harmoniously connected to his music. After a teacher applauds the performance, the diverse band packs up (“Epic solo, Nic!”) and heads out (“Catch you later!”). But Nic faces quite a commute outside the band room’s peace. With silent determination, he scales a suburban fence (“Ooof!”), faces a growling dog (“Grrrrrrrr!”), and navigates a bustling cityscape that drips with inclement weather (“Plunk, plunk, plunk”) and public commentary (“It’s bigger than him!” two children laugh, pointing at the bass). Persisting through storm and ridicule, Nic finally arrives at his grandfather’s city building—only to find the elevator out. But his celebrated arrival, at a loving, musical oasis not dissimilar from the practice room, offers him the space to make music based on his journey’s travails. Sparse, onomatopoeic text by Loney (Bunnybear) and vibrant, cubist-style art by Gutierrez (Mama and Me) combine to create a harmony of sound and emotion through a child’s journey, his family’s warmth, and music’s restorative powers. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781524718527 Young Nic plays an epic bass solo with his school orchestra and then travels across town to jam with a band made up of older musicians in this briefly worded tale of a boy who loves making music. A growling dog, a couple of teasing kids, a crowded bus, a cloudburst, and a broken elevator are not enough to discourage the boy from reaching his destination. Onomatopoeia and dialogue make up the few words used in the text. Gutierrez's acrylic paintings in rich colors exude movement and energy while delineating the sounds of the child's day, which he plays on his bass. Musical notes and measures decorate some pictures, while others show Nic in the background as he trudges along the street, carrying his huge bass. One intriguing double spread reveals an M. C. Escher-like staircase that seems endless to Nic as he lugs his instrument to his destination. The dreamy look on Nic's face clearly reveals the ""zone"" he enters when playing music, and readers will understand that Nic's talent brings him great joy.--Maryann Owen Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A young musician is inspired by the beat and rhythm of his commute.Nic's journey begins with an enthusiastic "Ziiiiiiiiiiip!" and a contemplative "Hummmmm" as he's applauded in orchestra. Then, with his double bass strapped to his back, he trades the trees and space of his suburban school for towering buildings and city buses. He dodges dogs, bullies, and rain, hustling home to warm hugs and a jazz jam session replete with onomatopoeic improvisations taken from his commute. The, "whoosh" of the bus's windshield wipers pairs with the "plunk" of rain and the "clap" of his classmates as Nic releases the sounds and sights of the afternoon through his music. Acrylic-paint illustrations include geometric squiggles and swirls that outline and emphasize musical vibrations and the spare, expressive text. Defined shapes are rendered in a vibrant palette that brings out the range of colors present in the characters' skin tones. Nic, who presents black, is a blend of blues, blacks, golds, and reds, with his boxy, spiked hair a muted mixture of oranges, browns, pinks, and greens. One exceptional double-page spread uses interlocking triangles to separate scenes that capture Nic's movement from the suburbs to the city. This journey is also expressed in the stenciled endpapers, the front showing Nic in his orchestra and the back, at home, jamming.Simple language complements complex paintings to create the perfect literary melody. (Picture book. 4-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781524718527 Gr 1–3—In an explosion of vibrant color (thanks to Rudy Gutierrez's liquid acrylics), young Nic wins kudos for his double bass solo with the school orchestra, but faces a tough journey home. Lugging his beloved (but bulky) bull fiddle, the boy is harassed and taunted on his long trip, and is finally faced with an out-of-service elevator and multiple flights of stairs. Happily, he finds not only his loving grandfather waiting for him, but some of granddaddy's jazz-playing buddies sitting with their instruments at the ready, sorely in need of that boy and his bull fiddle. Colorful, full of movement, limited in text but loaded with emotion, this is an ode to the diversity of music and the determination of a talented kid. VERDICT A dramatic and emotional selection for older readers than the usual picture book audience, particularly kids who love music and have had their own tough journeys home. —Patricia Manning, formerly at Eastchester Public Library, NY
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781524718527 A young double bass player faces obstacles en route to his grandfather’s house in this visual ode to the blues. Resting his cheek alongside melodic vibrations emanating from the instrument, Nic, who is black, seems harmoniously connected to his music. After a teacher applauds the performance, the diverse band packs up (“Epic solo, Nic!”) and heads out (“Catch you later!”). But Nic faces quite a commute outside the band room’s peace. With silent determination, he scales a suburban fence (“Ooof!”), faces a growling dog (“Grrrrrrrr!”), and navigates a bustling cityscape that drips with inclement weather (“Plunk, plunk, plunk”) and public commentary (“It’s bigger than him!” two children laugh, pointing at the bass). Persisting through storm and ridicule, Nic finally arrives at his grandfather’s city building—only to find the elevator out. But his celebrated arrival, at a loving, musical oasis not dissimilar from the practice room, offers him the space to make music based on his journey’s travails. Sparse, onomatopoeic text by Loney (Bunnybear) and vibrant, cubist-style art by Gutierrez (Mama and Me) combine to create a harmony of sound and emotion through a child’s journey, his family’s warmth, and music’s restorative powers. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
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  Book Jacket
2020 (Younger Readers)
Field Trip to the Moon
 John Hare
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780823442539 PreS-Gr 2-Hare's picture book debut is a winner. His wordless tale in acrylic paint depicts a typical class field trip to the moon-the school bus ship, the trek across a gray lunar surface, the leap over a big chasm, a lecture on craters, and the one kid who lags behind. In this case the kid who lags behind is armed with crayons and a sketch pad. After wandering off to sketch the Earth and accidentally napping, the child awakens to discover the bus ship leaving! Despite some initial panic, the youngster settles in to draw and wait for its return, unknowingly attracting a crowd of gray aliens fascinated by the colored crayons. A hilarious fun fest of aliens drawing-on paper, on rock, on one another-ensues until the bus returns and they fade back into the moon dust. The happy reunion is marred only when the teacher notices the drawings on the rock that the child must remove before they leave. It is only on the final page that the face of the protagonist is revealed to be that of a dark-haired girl. Hare flawlessly and convincingly depicts the emotions of his characters - the desire to draw, the panic of being left behind, the joy of being remembered, and everything in between-all while they are wearing space suits with black, opaque face shields. His gray yet surprisingly detailed moonscape is both the setting and a character in its own right; his depiction of the aliens as gray humanoids amazed by color is genius. -VERDICT A beautifully done wordless story about a field trip to the moon with a sweet and funny alien encounter; what's not to like? A must-have for most libraries.-Catherine Callegari, Gay-Kimball Library, Troy, NH © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780823442539 In this wordless picture book, schoolchildren are transported to the moon on a space shuttle resembling a bus, and one space-suited child discovers that, although the moon has been explored, there is always something new to discover. While the other kids stick to the field trip itinerary, this child finds a quiet spot to sit with some crayons and draw the Earth and is thus accidentally left behind. As the bus disappears into space, the child resumes coloring, which draws out a group of gray rock-like moon people who humorously interact with the crayons, doodling on themselves as well as a nearby boulder. The fun ends when the bus returns and the moon people hide, each still holding a crayon. Homeward bound, the child (whose gender is undefined) uses the only remaining crayon a gray one to draw a picture of the moon people. A perfectly paced paean to imagination, Hare's auspicious debut presents a world where a yellow crayon box shines like a beacon.--Karen Cruze Copyright 2019 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Left behind when the space bus departs, a child discovers that the moon isn't as lifeless as it looks.While the rest of the space-suited class follows the teacher like ducklings, one laggard carrying crayons and a sketchbook sits down to draw our home planet floating overhead, falls asleep, and wakes to see the bus zooming off. The bright yellow bus, the gaggle of playful field-trippers, and even the dull gray boulders strewn over the equally dull gray lunar surface have a rounded solidity suggestive of Plasticine models in Hare's wordless but cinematic scenesas do the rubbery, one-eyed, dull gray creatures (think: those stress-busting dolls with ears that pop out when squeezed) that emerge from the regolith. The mutual shock lasts but a moment before the lunarians eagerly grab the proffered crayons to brighten the bland gray setting with silly designs. The creatures dive into the dust when the bus swoops back down but pop up to exchange goodbye waves with the errant child, who turns out to be an olive-skinned kid with a mop of brown hair last seen drawing one of their new friends with the one crayongray, of courseleft in the box. Body language is expressive enough in this debut outing to make a verbal narrative superfluous.A close encounter of the best kind. (Picture book. 6-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780823442539 Told through wordless spreads, a classroom of child astronauts takes a yellow school bus rocket to their destination. One student lags behind the others, sketch pad and crayons in tow, and finds a quiet moon rock to sit behind while drawing (and napping). In a gaspworthy moment, the young astronaut realizes that the ship has left. But the consummate artist continues drawing, attracting the attention of a small group of friendly aliens—whose skin tones perfectly match the dusky gray of the moon’s surface and who marvel at the crayons’ varied hues. Readers may have mixed feelings about the eventual rescue (the aliens seem like a lot of fun), but a final spread showing the child’s face for the first time (a shaggy-haired kid with just a single gray crayon left) makes the story all the more relatable. A clever and noteworthy tale of lunar adventure. Ages 4–8. (May)
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Firefighters Handbook.
Book Jacket   Meghan McCarthy
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A pictorial guide for fostering future firefighters.With a friendly "welcome!" the book ushers young readers into their training as fledgling firefighters. They are shown what is expected of them physically, from general exercises like running or pullups to more specific tasks such as climbing stairs with a weighted vest or dragging a hose long distances. McCarthy includes diagrams and simple explanations of personal protective equipment like axes, helmets, and self-contained breathing apparatus facepieces and cylinders as well as cutaways of rescue vehicles showing where these materials are stored. Also shown are types of firefighters and descriptions of related professionals like paramedics. McCarthy's trademark bright and lovely painted illustrations are clear and expressive. The text clearly addresses its readers as "you," asking questions along the way, bringing them into the book in a way that works well read aloud or independently. Aftermatter consists of an author interview with a (white, older, male) firefighter and questions for him from children and a smattering of websites to find additional information. Young firefighting aficionados looking to self-identify will find lots to work with here, as persons of multiple races and gender identities are shown.An informative offering that is both appropriately accessible and comprehensive. (Informational picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781534417335 There's no denying that being a firefighter is a tough job. In her latest informational picture book, nonfiction whiz McCarthy shows just what it takes to become and work as this community hero. First, there's a physical ability test with such tasks such as climbing stairs while wearing a 75-pound vest and an interview that looks for team-building traits. Because firefighters also need good memory skills, the author includes a double-page illustration of varied individuals for young readers to test their memory about using questions at the end of the book. While McCarthy's acrylic paintings depict diverse male and female firefighters with her signature cartoon faces, the firefighters' personal gear, equipment, and vehicles are illustrated realistically with precise details. In addition to descriptions of typical training and fire station tasks, children will learn about other requirements, like paramedic skills, and firefighting in nontraditional settings, like at the airport or in the ocean. A concluding section features an interview with a retired fire department battalion chief. An essential title for any elementary unit on community helpers.--Angela Leeper Copyright 2019 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781534417335 Friendly, direct-address text covers detailed information about firefighters' equipment, training, daily tasks, and helpful skills to have or cultivate. The writing is clear and specific; the expansive, colorful acrylic illustrations, including labeled diagrams, are themselves quite informative. Firefighters' camaraderie comes through clearly; while the disaster-scenario scenes aren't frantic, neither are they unrealistically downplayed. Back matter includes an interview with a retired fire chief, including questions both from McCarthy and from children. Websites. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A pictorial guide for fostering future firefighters.With a friendly "welcome!" the book ushers young readers into their training as fledgling firefighters. They are shown what is expected of them physically, from general exercises like running or pullups to more specific tasks such as climbing stairs with a weighted vest or dragging a hose long distances. McCarthy includes diagrams and simple explanations of personal protective equipment like axes, helmets, and self-contained breathing apparatus facepieces and cylinders as well as cutaways of rescue vehicles showing where these materials are stored. Also shown are types of firefighters and descriptions of related professionals like paramedics. McCarthy's trademark bright and lovely painted illustrations are clear and expressive. The text clearly addresses its readers as "you," asking questions along the way, bringing them into the book in a way that works well read aloud or independently. Aftermatter consists of an author interview with a (white, older, male) firefighter and questions for him from children and a smattering of websites to find additional information. Young firefighting aficionados looking to self-identify will find lots to work with here, as persons of multiple races and gender identities are shown.An informative offering that is both appropriately accessible and comprehensive. (Informational picture book. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781534417335 There's no denying that being a firefighter is a tough job. In her latest informational picture book, nonfiction whiz McCarthy shows just what it takes to become and work as this community hero. First, there's a physical ability test with such tasks such as climbing stairs while wearing a 75-pound vest and an interview that looks for team-building traits. Because firefighters also need good memory skills, the author includes a double-page illustration of varied individuals for young readers to test their memory about using questions at the end of the book. While McCarthy's acrylic paintings depict diverse male and female firefighters with her signature cartoon faces, the firefighters' personal gear, equipment, and vehicles are illustrated realistically with precise details. In addition to descriptions of typical training and fire station tasks, children will learn about other requirements, like paramedic skills, and firefighting in nontraditional settings, like at the airport or in the ocean. A concluding section features an interview with a retired fire department battalion chief. An essential title for any elementary unit on community helpers.--Angela Leeper Copyright 2019 Booklist
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Flubby Is Not a Good Pet
Book Jacket   J. E. Morris.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Meet Flubby, a quintessential cat. Flubby, a rotund gray-and white cat with stubby legs, seems unimpressed by his owner's expectations of pet behavior. He won't sing like Kim's bird, catch like Sam's dog, or jump like Jill's frog. Flubby doesn't even run when it rains. But when thunder pounds"KA-BOOM"cat and kid need each other. Morris limits her palette to muted shades of brown, blue, gray, and green with an occasional spot of orange. Short, declarative sentences follow a predictable pattern and complement the spare illustrations. Cartoon panels opposite full-page pictures move the simple story along. In one memorable double-page spread, the actionof the child throwing a ball while Flubby watches and then rolls over to sleepmoves readers' eyes left to right across the spread in three stacked, horizontal panels. A full range of emotions, including happiness, frustration, boredom, concern, disappointment, fear, is conveyed with subtle changes in posture and eyes. The human characters are a multiracial mix. Kim presents Asian; Sam appears black; Jill seems white. Flubby's owner is not gendered and has longish brown hair and brown skin. Series companion Flubby Will NOT Play with That! publishes simultaneously.Nonjudgmental encouragement for new readerseven if they flub up. (Early reader. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781524787769 A young child’s cat, Flubby, isn’t like other pets. Kim’s bird sings, Sam’s dog catches, but, despite best efforts to teach Flubby tricks, he not only seems disinterested, but he also doesn’t comply or try. Sometimes he even does the opposite! For example, Jill’s frog can jump, but Flubby? Even after the kid, whose gender is unspecified, models jumping, Flubby, who’s been napping on his back, paws in the air, leisurely gets up, stretches, and yawns. But when a noisy thunderstorm comes (“KA-BOOM”), the pair get an opportunity to learn the mutual rewards of pet ownership, mostly in the form of sharing comfort and hugs. Short, simple text, accessibly written for new readers, is enlivened with interspersed speech-bubbles and humorous asides. Appealing, animated, colorful comics-style illustrations both depict and expand the story, such as in a montage in which Flubby's owner attempts to get the cute, stripy-tailed, bulky cat to catch, to no avail—Flubby merely watches the ball go by, then has a snooze. A droll and sweet read that cat fans especially will enjoy.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781524787769 Flubby the cat won't do any tricks, no matter how much his owner Kami tries. Increasingly frustrated, Kami declares: ‘Flubby is NOT a good pet!’ But when a thunderstorm begins, Flubby and Kami realize they need each other. The short, repetitive sentences are clearly designed for new readers. Minimalist illustrations humorously feature other animals doing tricks for their humans, while Flubby only says meow and falls asleep. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story
 Kevin Noble Maillard
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781626727465 Fry Bread celebrates the thing itself and much, much more. The simplicity of the ingredients, readers learn, belies the quality of the cooking process, the proximity with people, the historical tradition, the geography for fry bread is everything. Maillard and Martinez-Neal bring depth, detail, and whimsy to this Native American food story, with text and illustrations depicting the diversity of indigenous peoples, the role of continuity between generations, and the adaptation over time of people, place, and tradition. Fry bread becomes a metaphor for resilience, born ironically, as Maillard explains, from the most basic of government-issued ingredients. Martinez-Neal's (Alma and How She Got Her Name, 2018) illustrations are meant to be relished, lingered over. Smiling, round-faced children are shown playing together and learning from elders, and details include traditional Seminole textile designs, dollmaking, and pottery styles. A particularly striking spread depicts a wall etched with the names of hundreds of Native American nations, explicitly countering perceptions about the extinction or invisibility of indigenous peoples. A lengthy author's note provides valuable context and history, as well as the author's personal evolution into the fry bread lady with his own modern take on the recipe. This lovely, important book pairs well with Linda Sue Park's Bee-bim Bop! (2005) and Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji (2011) by F. Zia for fun culinary, familial themes.--Amina Chaudhri Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781626727465 Using brief statements that begin “fry bread is,” Maillard, who is a member of the Mekusukey band of the Seminole Nation tribe, creates a powerful meditation on the food as “a cycle of heritage and fortune.” In each spread, descriptions of fry bread range from the experiential (flavor, sound) to the more conceptual (nation, place). Bolstering the bold statements, spare poems emphasize fry bread in terms of provenance (“Fry bread is history/ The long walk, the stolen land”), culture (“Fry bread is art/ Sculpture, landscape, portrait”), and community (“Fry bread is time/ On weekdays and holidays/ Supper or dinner/ Powwows and festivals”). In blues and browns with bright highlights, Martinez-Neal’s wispy art features a diverse group of six children carrying ingredients and learning about each statement. A fry bread recipe concludes the book, and an author’s note offers vital, detailed context about this varied dish and its complex history (“The story of fry bread is the story of American Indians”). Ages 3–6. (Oct.)
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781626727465 PreS-Gr 2—Millard explores the rich and varied cultures of modern Native Americans through the lens of fry bread. Each section opens with "Fry Bread" in red capital letters, followed by a short lyrical verses tying the food to different aspects of Indigenous life. For example, the verse for "Fry Bread Is Time" reads "On weekdays and holidays/Supper or dinner/Powwows and festivals/Moments together/With family and friends." The verse for "Fry Bread Is History" explains, "The long walk, the stolen land/Strangers in our own world/With unknown food/We made new recipes/From what we had." Double-page color sketches in muted tones show the diversity of tribal members, with thoughtful details. As elders tell about the Trail of Tears, dark birds turn into sad people in the background. The author, a member of the Seminole Nation, shares his family recipe for fry bread and provides an extensive and thoughtful Author's Note, providing more information on each topic covered and occasionally calling out special details in the drawings. These notes deal with and dispel many stereotypes associated with Native peoples, while providing historical and contemporary facts. VERDICT This warm and charming book shows and affirms Native lives. The informational text and expressive drawings give it broad appeal, making it a first purchase for all libraries.—Tamara Saarinen, Pierce County Library, WA
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A bright picture book invites kids to cook with a Native American grandma.Kids of all races carry flour, salt, baking powder, and other supplies into the kitchen to make dough for fry bread. Flour dusts the counter as oil sizzles on the stove. Veggies, beans, and honey make up the list of toppings, and when the meal is ready, everyone is invited to join the feast. Community love is depicted in this book as its characters gather on Indigenous land across the continentindoors, outdoors, while making art or gazing at the night sky. This is about more than food, referencing cultural issues such as the history of displacement, starvation, and the struggle to survive, albeit in subtle ways appropriate for young children. With buoyant, heartfelt illustrations that show the diversity in Native America, the book tells the story of a post-colonial food, a shared tradition across the North American continent. Broken down into headings that celebrate what fry bread is, this story reaches readers both young and old thanks to the author's note at the back of the book that dives into the social ways, foodways, and politics of America's 573 recognized tribes. Through this topic that includes the diversity of so many Native peoples in a single story, Maillard (Mekusukey Seminole) promotes unity and familiarity among nations.Fry bread is much more than food, as this book amply demonstrates. (recipe) (Picture book. 3-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781626727465 Fry Bread celebrates the thing itself and much, much more. The simplicity of the ingredients, readers learn, belies the quality of the cooking process, the proximity with people, the historical tradition, the geography for fry bread is everything. Maillard and Martinez-Neal bring depth, detail, and whimsy to this Native American food story, with text and illustrations depicting the diversity of indigenous peoples, the role of continuity between generations, and the adaptation over time of people, place, and tradition. Fry bread becomes a metaphor for resilience, born ironically, as Maillard explains, from the most basic of government-issued ingredients. Martinez-Neal's (Alma and How She Got Her Name, 2018) illustrations are meant to be relished, lingered over. Smiling, round-faced children are shown playing together and learning from elders, and details include traditional Seminole textile designs, dollmaking, and pottery styles. A particularly striking spread depicts a wall etched with the names of hundreds of Native American nations, explicitly countering perceptions about the extinction or invisibility of indigenous peoples. A lengthy author's note provides valuable context and history, as well as the author's personal evolution into the fry bread lady with his own modern take on the recipe. This lovely, important book pairs well with Linda Sue Park's Bee-bim Bop! (2005) and Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji (2011) by F. Zia for fun culinary, familial themes.--Amina Chaudhri Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781626727465 Using brief statements that begin “fry bread is,” Maillard, who is a member of the Mekusukey band of the Seminole Nation tribe, creates a powerful meditation on the food as “a cycle of heritage and fortune.” In each spread, descriptions of fry bread range from the experiential (flavor, sound) to the more conceptual (nation, place). Bolstering the bold statements, spare poems emphasize fry bread in terms of provenance (“Fry bread is history/ The long walk, the stolen land”), culture (“Fry bread is art/ Sculpture, landscape, portrait”), and community (“Fry bread is time/ On weekdays and holidays/ Supper or dinner/ Powwows and festivals”). In blues and browns with bright highlights, Martinez-Neal’s wispy art features a diverse group of six children carrying ingredients and learning about each statement. A fry bread recipe concludes the book, and an author’s note offers vital, detailed context about this varied dish and its complex history (“The story of fry bread is the story of American Indians”). Ages 3–6. (Oct.)
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781626727465 PreS-Gr 2—Millard explores the rich and varied cultures of modern Native Americans through the lens of fry bread. Each section opens with "Fry Bread" in red capital letters, followed by a short lyrical verses tying the food to different aspects of Indigenous life. For example, the verse for "Fry Bread Is Time" reads "On weekdays and holidays/Supper or dinner/Powwows and festivals/Moments together/With family and friends." The verse for "Fry Bread Is History" explains, "The long walk, the stolen land/Strangers in our own world/With unknown food/We made new recipes/From what we had." Double-page color sketches in muted tones show the diversity of tribal members, with thoughtful details. As elders tell about the Trail of Tears, dark birds turn into sad people in the background. The author, a member of the Seminole Nation, shares his family recipe for fry bread and provides an extensive and thoughtful Author's Note, providing more information on each topic covered and occasionally calling out special details in the drawings. These notes deal with and dispel many stereotypes associated with Native peoples, while providing historical and contemporary facts. VERDICT This warm and charming book shows and affirms Native lives. The informational text and expressive drawings give it broad appeal, making it a first purchase for all libraries.—Tamara Saarinen, Pierce County Library, WA
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A bright picture book invites kids to cook with a Native American grandma.Kids of all races carry flour, salt, baking powder, and other supplies into the kitchen to make dough for fry bread. Flour dusts the counter as oil sizzles on the stove. Veggies, beans, and honey make up the list of toppings, and when the meal is ready, everyone is invited to join the feast. Community love is depicted in this book as its characters gather on Indigenous land across the continentindoors, outdoors, while making art or gazing at the night sky. This is about more than food, referencing cultural issues such as the history of displacement, starvation, and the struggle to survive, albeit in subtle ways appropriate for young children. With buoyant, heartfelt illustrations that show the diversity in Native America, the book tells the story of a post-colonial food, a shared tradition across the North American continent. Broken down into headings that celebrate what fry bread is, this story reaches readers both young and old thanks to the author's note at the back of the book that dives into the social ways, foodways, and politics of America's 573 recognized tribes. Through this topic that includes the diversity of so many Native peoples in a single story, Maillard (Mekusukey Seminole) promotes unity and familiarity among nations.Fry bread is much more than food, as this book amply demonstrates. (recipe) (Picture book. 3-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781626727465 Fry Bread celebrates the thing itself and much, much more. The simplicity of the ingredients, readers learn, belies the quality of the cooking process, the proximity with people, the historical tradition, the geography for fry bread is everything. Maillard and Martinez-Neal bring depth, detail, and whimsy to this Native American food story, with text and illustrations depicting the diversity of indigenous peoples, the role of continuity between generations, and the adaptation over time of people, place, and tradition. Fry bread becomes a metaphor for resilience, born ironically, as Maillard explains, from the most basic of government-issued ingredients. Martinez-Neal's (Alma and How She Got Her Name, 2018) illustrations are meant to be relished, lingered over. Smiling, round-faced children are shown playing together and learning from elders, and details include traditional Seminole textile designs, dollmaking, and pottery styles. A particularly striking spread depicts a wall etched with the names of hundreds of Native American nations, explicitly countering perceptions about the extinction or invisibility of indigenous peoples. A lengthy author's note provides valuable context and history, as well as the author's personal evolution into the fry bread lady with his own modern take on the recipe. This lovely, important book pairs well with Linda Sue Park's Bee-bim Bop! (2005) and Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-ji (2011) by F. Zia for fun culinary, familial themes.--Amina Chaudhri Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781626727465 Using brief statements that begin “fry bread is,” Maillard, who is a member of the Mekusukey band of the Seminole Nation tribe, creates a powerful meditation on the food as “a cycle of heritage and fortune.” In each spread, descriptions of fry bread range from the experiential (flavor, sound) to the more conceptual (nation, place). Bolstering the bold statements, spare poems emphasize fry bread in terms of provenance (“Fry bread is history/ The long walk, the stolen land”), culture (“Fry bread is art/ Sculpture, landscape, portrait”), and community (“Fry bread is time/ On weekdays and holidays/ Supper or dinner/ Powwows and festivals”). In blues and browns with bright highlights, Martinez-Neal’s wispy art features a diverse group of six children carrying ingredients and learning about each statement. A fry bread recipe concludes the book, and an author’s note offers vital, detailed context about this varied dish and its complex history (“The story of fry bread is the story of American Indians”). Ages 3–6. (Oct.)
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781626727465 PreS-Gr 2—Millard explores the rich and varied cultures of modern Native Americans through the lens of fry bread. Each section opens with "Fry Bread" in red capital letters, followed by a short lyrical verses tying the food to different aspects of Indigenous life. For example, the verse for "Fry Bread Is Time" reads "On weekdays and holidays/Supper or dinner/Powwows and festivals/Moments together/With family and friends." The verse for "Fry Bread Is History" explains, "The long walk, the stolen land/Strangers in our own world/With unknown food/We made new recipes/From what we had." Double-page color sketches in muted tones show the diversity of tribal members, with thoughtful details. As elders tell about the Trail of Tears, dark birds turn into sad people in the background. The author, a member of the Seminole Nation, shares his family recipe for fry bread and provides an extensive and thoughtful Author's Note, providing more information on each topic covered and occasionally calling out special details in the drawings. These notes deal with and dispel many stereotypes associated with Native peoples, while providing historical and contemporary facts. VERDICT This warm and charming book shows and affirms Native lives. The informational text and expressive drawings give it broad appeal, making it a first purchase for all libraries.—Tamara Saarinen, Pierce County Library, WA
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781626727465 More than just food, ‘Fry bread is time...Fry bread is art...Fry bread is history.’ An intergenerational group of Native American friends and family makes fry bread, a common Native food staple as varied as the people who make it; this diversity is reflected in Martinez-Neal's warmhearted illustrations. Back matter explains how fry bread became a part of many Native Americans' diet after being forced from their land and given limited U.S. government rations. Recipe appended. Bib. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A bright picture book invites kids to cook with a Native American grandma.Kids of all races carry flour, salt, baking powder, and other supplies into the kitchen to make dough for fry bread. Flour dusts the counter as oil sizzles on the stove. Veggies, beans, and honey make up the list of toppings, and when the meal is ready, everyone is invited to join the feast. Community love is depicted in this book as its characters gather on Indigenous land across the continentindoors, outdoors, while making art or gazing at the night sky. This is about more than food, referencing cultural issues such as the history of displacement, starvation, and the struggle to survive, albeit in subtle ways appropriate for young children. With buoyant, heartfelt illustrations that show the diversity in Native America, the book tells the story of a post-colonial food, a shared tradition across the North American continent. Broken down into headings that celebrate what fry bread is, this story reaches readers both young and old thanks to the author's note at the back of the book that dives into the social ways, foodways, and politics of America's 573 recognized tribes. Through this topic that includes the diversity of so many Native peoples in a single story, Maillard (Mekusukey Seminole) promotes unity and familiarity among nations.Fry bread is much more than food, as this book amply demonstrates. (recipe) (Picture book. 3-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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  Book Jacket
2020 (Younger Readers)
Going Down Home with Daddy
 Kelly Starling Lyons
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781561459384 Gr 2-5-Inspired by the author's family heritage and traditions, this title follows an African American family as they travel "down home" for a family reunion. Lil' Alan is excited to see his extended family and visit his great-grandma and her farm but is anxious about how he might contribute to the celebration. Sis is planning to sing Granny's favorite song, and cousin Isaiah will read a poem by Langston Hughes, but what can Lil' Alan do? As he goes on a tractor ride, enjoys "love-made" family meals, attends church services, and listens to his father and other relatives share memories and ruminate on the importance of family, Lil' Alan realizes that the answer is in the precious family land, the gifts of which he uses in a heartfelt tribute to his family and its roots. Minter's illustrations, rendered in an acrylic wash, work in beautiful harmony with Lyons's joyful portrait of a deeply loving multigenerational family. Carefully layered images, patterns, and textures reinforce the narrative links between family history, American history, ancestral land and nature, and the bonds of family: "When we go down home with Daddy, everything we see holds a piece of him and us." VERDICT Readers will enjoy this moving celebration of familial love, history, and tradition. Highly -recommended.-Lauren Strohecker, McKinley Elementary School, Elkins Park, PA © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781561459384 In a lushly illustrated tribute to family history, an African-American boy and his family take their annual trip to his great-grandmother's farm for a reunion. The pivotal event is a family celebration during which each individual performs. Lil Alan's cousins have their presentations prepared-one cousin will read a Langston Hughes poem, another will share a scrapbook "in Granny's favorite color blue." Alan, though, is stumped: "I kick a stone and my eyes start to burn." But as he internalizes the energy of the farm, tastes "love-made dishes," and enjoys family, the words come: "Cotton for the quilts Granny made to keep her children warm... A pecan for the trees Pa planted and all the kids love to climb." Lyons's image-rich prose and Minter's powerful acrylics-rendered in shadowy blues and fiery shades-convey a sense of historical struggle alongside cherished tradition while capturing the experience of performance jitters. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781561459384 Lil Alan and his family are heading "down home" to the farm where Daddy was raised. Although Alan is excited to see his family, he's nervous about what to share at the celebration. With his family's help, Alan finds the right words to say. This relatable story of a multigenerational family reunion is strengthened by the acrylic-wash paintings, mixed with African symbols, of the family gathering. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781561459384 Lil' Alan and his African American family arise before dawn for the drive down home to Granny's house for a reunion. They arrive to hugs from Granny, a parade of extended kin, and a quick trip around the farm on Granny's tractor. Tradition dictates that everyone contributes something to the celebration a song, a poem, a scrapbook but Alan agonizes, unsure what he should share. Lyons' lyrical text recounts a heartfelt story of family love, shared history, and connection to a place that binds everyone together. Minter's acrylic wash illustrations transmit a dreamy quality that conveys the deep respect family members share with one another. Blue washes are employed for the most reverent scenes, depicting dinnertime grace, memories of the now departed patriarch Pa, and Alan's heartfelt speech acknowledging the iconic elements that symbolize family for him. Also effective is Minter's use of intricately designed patterns that grace clothing, Granny's chickens, and layered images depicting cotton plants, garden areas, and a church. A tribute to families and the components that connect them.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2019 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A young boy ponders the perfect tribute to his great-grandma for their annual family reunion.This year everyone's prepared something special for Granny's anniversary celebration "down home"everyone except Lil Alan. As he considers what to give, Lil Alan's weekend is marked by memories connected to the land and his family, those who are still alive and ancestors that have passed on. Ultimately, he gifts an object lesson that emphasizes the legacy of love that brings them together as a "mighty family." Imagery is presented in marvelous metaphors ("I watch as we drive from city streets to flowing highways under a sweep of sparkling stars"), while lighthearted ribbing (" Got a head just like your daddy,' Uncle Jay teases me") and soul food ( "smoked turkey, mac and cheese, okra and tomatoes, and biscuits oozing mayhaw jelly"yum) set the scene for a celebration of myriad African-American and family traditions. Minter's acrylic-wash prints soar as stenciled cotton bolls, okra, and pecans dot the pages alongside images of family members in sepia and blue-black hues. One striking spread details silhouettes of Lil Alan, Sis, and Momma layered on top of one another, same eyes, lips, and textured hair and same reunion T-shirt imprinted with a simple, familiar, deeply rooted tree.A warm, loving, necessary reminder of the power in families coming together. (Picture book. 4-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781561459384 Gr 2-5-Inspired by the author's family heritage and traditions, this title follows an African American family as they travel "down home" for a family reunion. Lil' Alan is excited to see his extended family and visit his great-grandma and her farm but is anxious about how he might contribute to the celebration. Sis is planning to sing Granny's favorite song, and cousin Isaiah will read a poem by Langston Hughes, but what can Lil' Alan do? As he goes on a tractor ride, enjoys "love-made" family meals, attends church services, and listens to his father and other relatives share memories and ruminate on the importance of family, Lil' Alan realizes that the answer is in the precious family land, the gifts of which he uses in a heartfelt tribute to his family and its roots. Minter's illustrations, rendered in an acrylic wash, work in beautiful harmony with Lyons's joyful portrait of a deeply loving multigenerational family. Carefully layered images, patterns, and textures reinforce the narrative links between family history, American history, ancestral land and nature, and the bonds of family: "When we go down home with Daddy, everything we see holds a piece of him and us." VERDICT Readers will enjoy this moving celebration of familial love, history, and tradition. Highly -recommended.-Lauren Strohecker, McKinley Elementary School, Elkins Park, PA © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781561459384 In a lushly illustrated tribute to family history, an African-American boy and his family take their annual trip to his great-grandmother's farm for a reunion. The pivotal event is a family celebration during which each individual performs. Lil Alan's cousins have their presentations prepared-one cousin will read a Langston Hughes poem, another will share a scrapbook "in Granny's favorite color blue." Alan, though, is stumped: "I kick a stone and my eyes start to burn." But as he internalizes the energy of the farm, tastes "love-made dishes," and enjoys family, the words come: "Cotton for the quilts Granny made to keep her children warm... A pecan for the trees Pa planted and all the kids love to climb." Lyons's image-rich prose and Minter's powerful acrylics-rendered in shadowy blues and fiery shades-convey a sense of historical struggle alongside cherished tradition while capturing the experience of performance jitters. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781561459384 Lil Alan and his family are heading "down home" to the farm where Daddy was raised. Although Alan is excited to see his family, he's nervous about what to share at the celebration. With his family's help, Alan finds the right words to say. This relatable story of a multigenerational family reunion is strengthened by the acrylic-wash paintings, mixed with African symbols, of the family gathering. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781561459384 Lil' Alan and his African American family arise before dawn for the drive down home to Granny's house for a reunion. They arrive to hugs from Granny, a parade of extended kin, and a quick trip around the farm on Granny's tractor. Tradition dictates that everyone contributes something to the celebration a song, a poem, a scrapbook but Alan agonizes, unsure what he should share. Lyons' lyrical text recounts a heartfelt story of family love, shared history, and connection to a place that binds everyone together. Minter's acrylic wash illustrations transmit a dreamy quality that conveys the deep respect family members share with one another. Blue washes are employed for the most reverent scenes, depicting dinnertime grace, memories of the now departed patriarch Pa, and Alan's heartfelt speech acknowledging the iconic elements that symbolize family for him. Also effective is Minter's use of intricately designed patterns that grace clothing, Granny's chickens, and layered images depicting cotton plants, garden areas, and a church. A tribute to families and the components that connect them.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2019 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A young boy ponders the perfect tribute to his great-grandma for their annual family reunion.This year everyone's prepared something special for Granny's anniversary celebration "down home"everyone except Lil Alan. As he considers what to give, Lil Alan's weekend is marked by memories connected to the land and his family, those who are still alive and ancestors that have passed on. Ultimately, he gifts an object lesson that emphasizes the legacy of love that brings them together as a "mighty family." Imagery is presented in marvelous metaphors ("I watch as we drive from city streets to flowing highways under a sweep of sparkling stars"), while lighthearted ribbing (" Got a head just like your daddy,' Uncle Jay teases me") and soul food ( "smoked turkey, mac and cheese, okra and tomatoes, and biscuits oozing mayhaw jelly"yum) set the scene for a celebration of myriad African-American and family traditions. Minter's acrylic-wash prints soar as stenciled cotton bolls, okra, and pecans dot the pages alongside images of family members in sepia and blue-black hues. One striking spread details silhouettes of Lil Alan, Sis, and Momma layered on top of one another, same eyes, lips, and textured hair and same reunion T-shirt imprinted with a simple, familiar, deeply rooted tree.A warm, loving, necessary reminder of the power in families coming together. (Picture book. 4-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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  Book Jacket
 
2020 (Younger Readers)
Grandpa's Top Threes.
Book Jacket   Wendy Meddour
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A gentle look at grief.This quiet picture book starts with Henry, a little chatterbox, talking in a garden shed crowded with plants and implements. "But Grandpa was gardening. Again." Grandpa doesn't want to play trains or tell anyone what he wants for lunch. "Just give him time," Mom says, hinting at something deeper. Henry engages his otherwise-mute grandfather by asking him about his "top three" sandwiches and jellyfish, generously offering his own opinions first. Slowly Grandpa comes out of his shell, a smile peeking out from behind his bushy beard. After a top-three day out (to the zoo, swimming pool, and park), Henry asks, "Who are your top three Grannies?" and goes on to answer: "Mine are Granny who is dead," followed by his living grandmother and a fictional one. Readers thus finally learn the reason for Grandpa's sadness and withdrawal as he shares more about his late wife, connecting with his grandson in the process. Well-paced and closely structured, this story works on every level, with Egnus' watercolors showing a range of emotion and activity, balancing clutter with space. It's not quite a story for children processing grief, as Henry seems fairly unaffected, but it may help families explain to children why the grown-ups in their lives are behaving differently after loss. Henry and his family present white.Peaceful and heartfelt. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A gentle look at grief.This quiet picture book starts with Henry, a little chatterbox, talking in a garden shed crowded with plants and implements. "But Grandpa was gardening. Again." Grandpa doesn't want to play trains or tell anyone what he wants for lunch. "Just give him time," Mom says, hinting at something deeper. Henry engages his otherwise-mute grandfather by asking him about his "top three" sandwiches and jellyfish, generously offering his own opinions first. Slowly Grandpa comes out of his shell, a smile peeking out from behind his bushy beard. After a top-three day out (to the zoo, swimming pool, and park), Henry asks, "Who are your top three Grannies?" and goes on to answer: "Mine are Granny who is dead," followed by his living grandmother and a fictional one. Readers thus finally learn the reason for Grandpa's sadness and withdrawal as he shares more about his late wife, connecting with his grandson in the process. Well-paced and closely structured, this story works on every level, with Egnus' watercolors showing a range of emotion and activity, balancing clutter with space. It's not quite a story for children processing grief, as Henry seems fairly unaffected, but it may help families explain to children why the grown-ups in their lives are behaving differently after loss. Henry and his family present white.Peaceful and heartfelt. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Hey, Water!
Book Jacket   Antoinette Portis
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780823441556 In this playful and informative book, a girl named Zoe speaks directly to water while considering its role inside and outside a home as well as its different forms. Portis's spare and accessible main text makes effective use of figurative language. Water's many permutations are the focus of the crisp, uncluttered, primarily aqua-colored illustrations. Back matter includes notes on conservation and water forms and a simple water cycle diagram. Reading list. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780823441556 Portis narrates in a conversational tone-"Hey, water! I know you! You're all around." But her story tackles a tricky cognitive task-recognizing an element that masquerades in different states. Clean graphic spreads mimic a map, with aerial views of water on the surface of the Earth in the matte palette that Portis (Not a Box) fans know. Each watery object-"stream," "river," "ocean"-is captioned in block letters with running text that conveys the actions of liquid water: "You trickle... and gurgle... and rush toward the sea." But water is more complicated than this: "Water, even when you try to fool me, I know you." It can hang suspended in midair as vapor ("You hide in the air and drift") or be solid as "a rock that floats," or "soft as a feather and fancier than lace. But water, I know it's you!" The same element can exist in several different forms, the words imply-our senses don't always tell us the truth about identity. Notes at the end with additional illustrations provide more information about states of matter, the water cycle, and conservation. Ages 4-8. Agent: Deborah Warren, East West Literary. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780823441556 A girl talks to water about its varied qualities. First, she acknowledges its liquid form, pouring from faucets, spraying from showers and sprinklers, and flowing into stream, river, and ocean. There are quiet lakes and noisy pools, sliding teardrops and pouring rain. She also recognizes water vapor in steam, clouds, and fog. Frozen water can be hard as rock (ice cube, iceberg, ice rink) or soft as a feather (snow). But in any form, Hey, water, thank you! The text creates an easy-going, conversational tone while maintaining a good balance of scientific knowledge, everyday observation, and a child's perspective. In the book's artwork, sumi ink brush drawings delineate forms, while color is added digitally. The brushstrokes bring a sense of spontaneity and energy to the scenes, which show up beautifully from a distance. A large, labeled picture illustrates the water cycle. Appended pages include more detailed discussions of water's different forms as well as the importance of conservation. A handsome picture book that's well suited to reading aloud, especially for classroom units on water.--Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2019 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780823441556 PreS-Gr 2-This simple introduction to water is an ideal read-aloud for the youngest scientists. Bold, beautiful, and equally simple illustrations are rendered with brush, sumi ink, and digital color. In addition to the brief running narrative, each page or spread features a word that refers to a different form of water ("tear") and descriptive text ("sometimes you slide down my cheek without a sound"). The book makes for a fun guessing game-children will enjoy figuring out, for instance, that "I stomp in you and scatter droplets everywhere" refers to a puddle. The book explores ways water can be found in homes, yards, and neighborhoods (in faucets, hoses, sprinklers) but also describes streams, rivers, oceans, dewdrops, clouds, fog, and icebergs. The final page shows a girl in the bath and her toy whale spouting sprays of water. Appended are accessible explanations about water forms, the water cycle, and conservation. The endpapers sport thick brushstroke waves in grays and blues. VERDICT Both school and public libraries will want this striking first science book on their shelves.-Barbara Auerbach, Cairo Public Library, NY © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Portis' latest picture book is a joyful, lyrical celebration of water.In it, protagonist Zoe (the name is revealed only at the end of the book) realizes that water is "all around" and discovers it everywhere: in her home, in nature, in her community, and in herself ("sometimes you slide down my cheek without a sound"). From page to page and, subtly, through the seasons, she engages in a game of hide-and-seek with water's many statesfrom ice ("Sometimes you freeze hard as a rocka rock that floats, / or a rock we can skate on") to steam ("Water, even when you try to fool me, I know you. You blast and huff. You whistle and puff"). Through it all, as she declares at the end, "water, I know it's you!" Done with brush and sumi ink and then digitally colored, Portis' bold illustrations undulate on the pageraindrops roar and pour; dwarfing a whale, oceans surge (even on the endpapers). Words describing the different types of water celebrated ("shower"; "puddle"; "fog") are printed in a large font that harmonizes with the illustrations' brushy look. The picture book also includes informative backmatter: an illustration of the water cycle, a manifesto to conserve water, and a list of additional resources about water and water experiments. Zoe has brown skin and straight, black hair.An energetic and literary introduction to water science by the author/illustrator of the award-winning Not a Box (2006). (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
How to Read a Book
 Kwame Alexander
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062307811 Come, let your fingers wonder as they wander through this engaging and mesmerizing ode to reading. Beginning with the captivating front endpapers that contain a poem and letters of the alphabet, this title is a treat to ears and eyes with its lyrical language and visual metaphors. Newbery medalist Alexander instructs the reader on how to best go about devouring a book, likening it to peeling a piece of fruit and savoring its goodness. First, pick a comfortable place to sit, open a book, and open your mind to all that volume has to offer. Caldecott Honor Book illustrator Sweet's intricate collage art uses an array of materials, including text and images from Bambi, old book covers, watercolors, and gouache paintings. Popping pink, orange, yellow, and purple leap from the artwork, creating an energy and optimism that will keep readers glued to the pages. Books take on the shape of a bookmobile, a guitar, a record player, and a toaster that spews forth letters spelling Once upon a Time. One gatefold and a die-cut page continue to enthrall and expand enthusiasm. The author admonishes readers: Don't rush though: Your eyes need time to taste. Your soul needs room to bloom. Endnotes by the author and illustrator describe how they came to create this delightful and appealing instruction manual.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Newbery medalist Alexander is popular across genres, and Caldecott Honoree Sweet's illustratrions enhance any project; together, they make an irresistible (and multi-award-winning) team--Maryann Owen Copyright 2019 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062307811 PreS-Gr 2—Award-winning poet Alexander compares reading a book to peeling the gentle skin of a clementine, digging in to its juiciness, enjoying it "piece by piece, part by part," until you can "watch a novel world unfurl right before your eyes." And who better to illustrate this delicious poem than Caldecott Honoree Sweet. The artwork is done in watercolor, gouache, mixed media, handmade and vintage papers, found objects including old book covers, and a paint can lid. Not a splash of color, a piece of paper, or a line is out of place. Starting with the initial collage that incorporates the building blocks of reading (the letters A to Z) and the lines from a poem by Nikki Giovanni that careful readers will have to pay attention to see, the tone is set. "So get/real cozy/between/the covers/And let your/fingers wonder/as they wander…" for there is much to relish in this poem and its exuberant images. "Squeeze/every morsel/of each plump line/until the last/drop of magic/drips from the infinite sky." The book includes a note from both the poet and the artist. VERDICT A beautiful book not to be rushed through, but to be enjoyed morsel by tasty morsel.—Lucia Acosta, Children's Literature Specialist, Princeton, NJ
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A linguistic and visual feast awaits in Alexander and Sweet's debut collaboration.If the mechanics of deciphering words on a page is a well-covered topic, the orchestration of finding magic between pages is an art emphasized but unexplaineduntil now. First things are first: "find a treea black tupelo or dawn redwood will doand plant yourself." Once settled, take the book in hand and "dig your thumb at the bottom of each juicy section and pop the words out[then] // Squeeze every morsel of each plump line until the last drop of magic / drips from the infinite sky." Reading, captured here in both content and form, is hailed as the unassailably individual, creative act it is. The prosody and rhythm and multimodal sensuousness of Alexander's poetic text is made playfully material in Sweet's mixed-media collage-and-watercolor illustrations. Not only does the book explain how to read, but it also demonstrates the elegant and emotive chaos awaiting readers in an intricate partnership of text and image. Despite the engaging physicality of gatefolds and almost three-dimensional spreads, readers with lower contrast sensitivity or readers less experienced at differentiating shapes and letters may initially find some of the more complex collage spreads difficult to parse. Children depicted are typically kraft-paper brown.New readers will be eager to follow such unconventional instructions, and experienced readers will recognize every single step. (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062307811 Newbery Medalist Alexander's love poem to literacy conjures up startling, luscious images: to begin reading a book, he tells readers, "peel its gentle skin,/ like you would/ a clementine..../ Dig your thumb/ at the bottom/ of each juicy section." Caldecott Honor artist Sweet (Some Writer!) riffs on his verse, line by line, imbuing spreads with the feel of a continually evolving, handmade Valentine (as the copyright page pointedly notes, "no computer was used in making this art"). By turns dreamy and ecstatic, the images include portraits of blissed-out readers in a variety of settings, all constructed from swaths of saturated neon color and literary-themed ephemera (pages from Bambi are used throughout). One gatefold transforms a book into an electric orange triple-decker party bus, with 18 windows revealing allusive scenes made from cut paper and collage. The text, set in hand-lettered capitals, sprawls and stacks energetically as it proclaims its bibliophilia-sometimes whispering and cooing, sometimes shouting from the rooftops that it's got it bad for books. And why not? As Alexander writes, "Now, sleep./ dream./ hope./ (you never reach)/ the end." Ages 4-8. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
It Began with a Page: How Gyo Fujikawa Drew the Way
 Kyo Maclear
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Pencil in hand, faced with an unjust world, Gyo Fujikawa created a new future.At 5, Japanese American Gyo Fujikawa didn't yet know what she wanted to be. She knew a pencil fit well in her hand, and she liked to fill empty pages with pictures of her world. As she grew, Fujikawa used her passion for art and her mother's activism to guide her education and inspiration. Defying gender conventions, Fujikawa attended college in 1926, when few American women did. Studying in Japan, she exchanged restrictive art classes for travel and aesthetic immersion. Back in the U.S., her family was sent to an internment camp on the West Coast while she began an art career at Disney on the East Coast, causing Fujikawa to lose her desire to draw. Eventually, she found a way to wield her craft to fight injustice. Her first book, Babies, published in 1963, featured racially diverse babies playing together and became a huge success despite publisher prejudice and misgivings. Morstad's artwork precisely balances white space with vignettes, black-and-white illustrations with eye-catching color. Often mimicking Fujikawa's style, Morstad layers engaging details and deep emotional resonance onto Maclear's spare, poetic text. Backmatter includes a detailed timeline with photos and quotes, an extensive note from the creators, and a selected bibliography and sources list.A splendid picture-book celebration of an artist and activist. (Picture book/biography. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062447623 Growing up in a Japanese American family in California, Gyo Fujikawa enjoyed drawing. Each day, she started with an empty white page ... and filled it with pictures. Though lonely at her first school, she found friends after her family moved to an island where many Japanese Americans lived. She studied art in college, traveled to Japan, and worked for Disney Studios in New York before beginning her freelance career as an artist and picture-book illustrator. Disheartened during WWII, when her family was sent to an internment camp, she continued working. Beginning with Babies (1963), her first racially inclusive picture book, she insisted that children shouldn't be segregated on the page, and she prevailed. An appended note provides information on Fujikawa's career, her passion for social justice, and her role as a trailblazer. Written and illustrated with clean, spare lines, the book reveals emotions in an understated manner. When her family was interned, the text includes phrases such as no pictures would come and her heart would not mend. In the artwork, created with liquid watercolor, gouache, and pencil crayons, Morstad uses line, color, and texture with finesse. This beautiful biography offers a fitting tribute to an artist with a lasting legacy in American picture books.--Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2019 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062447623 In spare, elegant spreads and graceful prose, frequent collaborators Maclear and Morstad (Bloom) tell the story of Japanese-American illustrator Gyo Fujikawa (1908–1998). An artist from the beginning, “she loved the feel of the pencil in her hand.” Fujikawa is treated like an outsider throughout her California upbringing but remains determined, attending college and traveling to Japan. Working as a freelance artist in New York City when WWII breaks out, she’s heartbroken when her family members, along with thousands of other Japanese-American citizens, are interned. In Morstad’s artwork, crisp line drawings alternate with lively watercolor and gouache scenes that revolve around patterned textiles; the art fades with the onset of war and revivifies as Fujikawa sketches the beginnings of Babies. When one spread shows white and black babies together, the publisher rejects it until Fujikawa, recalling “all the times she had felt unseen and unwelcome,” persuades them otherwise. Happily, the book is a success, and “Gyo kept going. Welcoming kids in from the edges, from the corners.” Maclear and Morstad’s biography conveys with quiet power how recently segregation reached into every aspect of American life, and how one woman did her part to defeat it. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062447623 K-Gr 4—When Gyo Fujikawa submitted the first book she had written and illustrated, her publishers hesitated. In 1963, a book with black, white, and Asian babies engaged in daily activities was highly unusual. Maclear and Morstad introduce readers to the artist whose quiet insistence led to the publication of the groundbreaking work. Born in California in 1908, Fujikawa was often ignored by white classmates but felt the support of her high school teachers. Her varied career included painting murals, working for Walt Disney Studios, and drawing for magazines. When her West Coast family was sent to an internment camp in 1942, she kept working to help support them. Her commitment to equality and justice helped promote diverse children's books, including more than 50 she created. Many illustrations recall the elegance and simplicity of Fujikawa's own work with plain backgrounds that allow readers to focus on the main subjects: a night scene of her mother burning possessions before the family's forced departure. Tiny figures dwarfed by barracks at the internment camp. A colorful swirling kimono during Fujikawa's 1932 study visit to Japan contrasts with black-and-white drawings of times of sadness. Two pages of photos and chronological highlights follow the main text. VERDICT Maclear and Morstad pack a lot of information into a few pages. This exemplary biography of a pioneer in multicultural children's books deserves a place in most collections.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University Library, Mankato
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Pencil in hand, faced with an unjust world, Gyo Fujikawa created a new future.At 5, Japanese American Gyo Fujikawa didn't yet know what she wanted to be. She knew a pencil fit well in her hand, and she liked to fill empty pages with pictures of her world. As she grew, Fujikawa used her passion for art and her mother's activism to guide her education and inspiration. Defying gender conventions, Fujikawa attended college in 1926, when few American women did. Studying in Japan, she exchanged restrictive art classes for travel and aesthetic immersion. Back in the U.S., her family was sent to an internment camp on the West Coast while she began an art career at Disney on the East Coast, causing Fujikawa to lose her desire to draw. Eventually, she found a way to wield her craft to fight injustice. Her first book, Babies, published in 1963, featured racially diverse babies playing together and became a huge success despite publisher prejudice and misgivings. Morstad's artwork precisely balances white space with vignettes, black-and-white illustrations with eye-catching color. Often mimicking Fujikawa's style, Morstad layers engaging details and deep emotional resonance onto Maclear's spare, poetic text. Backmatter includes a detailed timeline with photos and quotes, an extensive note from the creators, and a selected bibliography and sources list.A splendid picture-book celebration of an artist and activist. (Picture book/biography. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062447623 Growing up in a Japanese American family in California, Gyo Fujikawa enjoyed drawing. Each day, she started with an empty white page ... and filled it with pictures. Though lonely at her first school, she found friends after her family moved to an island where many Japanese Americans lived. She studied art in college, traveled to Japan, and worked for Disney Studios in New York before beginning her freelance career as an artist and picture-book illustrator. Disheartened during WWII, when her family was sent to an internment camp, she continued working. Beginning with Babies (1963), her first racially inclusive picture book, she insisted that children shouldn't be segregated on the page, and she prevailed. An appended note provides information on Fujikawa's career, her passion for social justice, and her role as a trailblazer. Written and illustrated with clean, spare lines, the book reveals emotions in an understated manner. When her family was interned, the text includes phrases such as no pictures would come and her heart would not mend. In the artwork, created with liquid watercolor, gouache, and pencil crayons, Morstad uses line, color, and texture with finesse. This beautiful biography offers a fitting tribute to an artist with a lasting legacy in American picture books.--Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2019 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062447623 In spare, elegant spreads and graceful prose, frequent collaborators Maclear and Morstad (Bloom) tell the story of Japanese-American illustrator Gyo Fujikawa (1908–1998). An artist from the beginning, “she loved the feel of the pencil in her hand.” Fujikawa is treated like an outsider throughout her California upbringing but remains determined, attending college and traveling to Japan. Working as a freelance artist in New York City when WWII breaks out, she’s heartbroken when her family members, along with thousands of other Japanese-American citizens, are interned. In Morstad’s artwork, crisp line drawings alternate with lively watercolor and gouache scenes that revolve around patterned textiles; the art fades with the onset of war and revivifies as Fujikawa sketches the beginnings of Babies. When one spread shows white and black babies together, the publisher rejects it until Fujikawa, recalling “all the times she had felt unseen and unwelcome,” persuades them otherwise. Happily, the book is a success, and “Gyo kept going. Welcoming kids in from the edges, from the corners.” Maclear and Morstad’s biography conveys with quiet power how recently segregation reached into every aspect of American life, and how one woman did her part to defeat it. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062447623 K-Gr 4—When Gyo Fujikawa submitted the first book she had written and illustrated, her publishers hesitated. In 1963, a book with black, white, and Asian babies engaged in daily activities was highly unusual. Maclear and Morstad introduce readers to the artist whose quiet insistence led to the publication of the groundbreaking work. Born in California in 1908, Fujikawa was often ignored by white classmates but felt the support of her high school teachers. Her varied career included painting murals, working for Walt Disney Studios, and drawing for magazines. When her West Coast family was sent to an internment camp in 1942, she kept working to help support them. Her commitment to equality and justice helped promote diverse children's books, including more than 50 she created. Many illustrations recall the elegance and simplicity of Fujikawa's own work with plain backgrounds that allow readers to focus on the main subjects: a night scene of her mother burning possessions before the family's forced departure. Tiny figures dwarfed by barracks at the internment camp. A colorful swirling kimono during Fujikawa's 1932 study visit to Japan contrasts with black-and-white drawings of times of sadness. Two pages of photos and chronological highlights follow the main text. VERDICT Maclear and Morstad pack a lot of information into a few pages. This exemplary biography of a pioneer in multicultural children's books deserves a place in most collections.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University Library, Mankato
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Pencil in hand, faced with an unjust world, Gyo Fujikawa created a new future.At 5, Japanese American Gyo Fujikawa didn't yet know what she wanted to be. She knew a pencil fit well in her hand, and she liked to fill empty pages with pictures of her world. As she grew, Fujikawa used her passion for art and her mother's activism to guide her education and inspiration. Defying gender conventions, Fujikawa attended college in 1926, when few American women did. Studying in Japan, she exchanged restrictive art classes for travel and aesthetic immersion. Back in the U.S., her family was sent to an internment camp on the West Coast while she began an art career at Disney on the East Coast, causing Fujikawa to lose her desire to draw. Eventually, she found a way to wield her craft to fight injustice. Her first book, Babies, published in 1963, featured racially diverse babies playing together and became a huge success despite publisher prejudice and misgivings. Morstad's artwork precisely balances white space with vignettes, black-and-white illustrations with eye-catching color. Often mimicking Fujikawa's style, Morstad layers engaging details and deep emotional resonance onto Maclear's spare, poetic text. Backmatter includes a detailed timeline with photos and quotes, an extensive note from the creators, and a selected bibliography and sources list.A splendid picture-book celebration of an artist and activist. (Picture book/biography. 5-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062447623 Growing up in a Japanese American family in California, Gyo Fujikawa enjoyed drawing. Each day, she started with an empty white page ... and filled it with pictures. Though lonely at her first school, she found friends after her family moved to an island where many Japanese Americans lived. She studied art in college, traveled to Japan, and worked for Disney Studios in New York before beginning her freelance career as an artist and picture-book illustrator. Disheartened during WWII, when her family was sent to an internment camp, she continued working. Beginning with Babies (1963), her first racially inclusive picture book, she insisted that children shouldn't be segregated on the page, and she prevailed. An appended note provides information on Fujikawa's career, her passion for social justice, and her role as a trailblazer. Written and illustrated with clean, spare lines, the book reveals emotions in an understated manner. When her family was interned, the text includes phrases such as no pictures would come and her heart would not mend. In the artwork, created with liquid watercolor, gouache, and pencil crayons, Morstad uses line, color, and texture with finesse. This beautiful biography offers a fitting tribute to an artist with a lasting legacy in American picture books.--Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2019 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062447623 Japanese American artist Fujikawa (1908–1998) helped break the color barrier in picture books with her 1963 now-classic Babies. Maclear lucidly outlines a remarkable life of art and creativity, of struggle and perseverance. Growing up in California, Fujikawa ‘sometimes...felt invisible among her mostly white classmates.’ This feeling continued into adulthood and an art career in New York City, especially when her West Coast–based family was incarcerated in WWII internment camps. Morstad's illustrations effectively vary in style and coloring to match events. Timeline. Bib. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062447623 In spare, elegant spreads and graceful prose, frequent collaborators Maclear and Morstad (Bloom) tell the story of Japanese-American illustrator Gyo Fujikawa (1908–1998). An artist from the beginning, “she loved the feel of the pencil in her hand.” Fujikawa is treated like an outsider throughout her California upbringing but remains determined, attending college and traveling to Japan. Working as a freelance artist in New York City when WWII breaks out, she’s heartbroken when her family members, along with thousands of other Japanese-American citizens, are interned. In Morstad’s artwork, crisp line drawings alternate with lively watercolor and gouache scenes that revolve around patterned textiles; the art fades with the onset of war and revivifies as Fujikawa sketches the beginnings of Babies. When one spread shows white and black babies together, the publisher rejects it until Fujikawa, recalling “all the times she had felt unseen and unwelcome,” persuades them otherwise. Happily, the book is a success, and “Gyo kept going. Welcoming kids in from the edges, from the corners.” Maclear and Morstad’s biography conveys with quiet power how recently segregation reached into every aspect of American life, and how one woman did her part to defeat it. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062447623 K-Gr 4—When Gyo Fujikawa submitted the first book she had written and illustrated, her publishers hesitated. In 1963, a book with black, white, and Asian babies engaged in daily activities was highly unusual. Maclear and Morstad introduce readers to the artist whose quiet insistence led to the publication of the groundbreaking work. Born in California in 1908, Fujikawa was often ignored by white classmates but felt the support of her high school teachers. Her varied career included painting murals, working for Walt Disney Studios, and drawing for magazines. When her West Coast family was sent to an internment camp in 1942, she kept working to help support them. Her commitment to equality and justice helped promote diverse children's books, including more than 50 she created. Many illustrations recall the elegance and simplicity of Fujikawa's own work with plain backgrounds that allow readers to focus on the main subjects: a night scene of her mother burning possessions before the family's forced departure. Tiny figures dwarfed by barracks at the internment camp. A colorful swirling kimono during Fujikawa's 1932 study visit to Japan contrasts with black-and-white drawings of times of sadness. Two pages of photos and chronological highlights follow the main text. VERDICT Maclear and Morstad pack a lot of information into a few pages. This exemplary biography of a pioneer in multicultural children's books deserves a place in most collections.—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University Library, Mankato
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Just Right: Searching for the Goldilocks Planet.
Book Jacket   Curtis Manley
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781250155337 Readers join a brown-skinned girl with a polka-dotted backpack as she asks questions about the stars and visits a space museum, where she watches exoplanets careen overhead in a planetarium. In sweeping, inky art, Lanan captures the child's dawning awareness of the vastness of the universe. Manley's writing swings gracefully between factual descriptions ("Earth orbits in our solar system's 'habitable zone''") and more lyrical observations: "All stars twinkle, but some stars also seem to wink at us... as if saying, 'I know a secret.''" Back home after the museum trip, the child considers the types of life-forms that might be out there. Richly informative prose and intimate yet expansive art show a child's contagious enthusiasm for the book's subject. Includes a timeline of astronomical discoveries and suggestions for further reading. Ages 5-9. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781250155337 Gr 2-5-Beginning with the insights of astronomers such as Lucretius and Giordano Bruno and continuing with the observations of a fictional young black girl from the present day, this illuminating book examines the possibility of life on other planets. Manley presents scientific certainties and theories alongside the child and her family's trip to a museum. One spread features text about Earth-like exoplanets paired with illustrations of the girl gazing off open-mouthed at the promising habitable planet surface that exists, for her, beyond the walls of the museum. On some pages, she muses, "If someday we do find evidence of beings like ourselves, what could we do? .We could send them art and poetry and music." The enthusiastic main character lightens what could be weighty scientific information, providing an entry point for newcomers. Lanan's pleasing, watercolorlike artwork moves between expansive visions of outer space and panels that highlight key concepts. VERDICT An ideal addition for libraries building or updating STEAM collections.-Elaine Fultz, Madison Jr. Sr. High School, Middletown, OH © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A young girl looks out her window, pondering the universe. A subsequent family trip to the planetarium gives her a lot to think about.Are we alone in the universe? Are there other "Goldilocks planets" out there capable of sustaining life, planets that are "not too hot and not too cold, not too big and not too small, not too soft and not too hard" but "just right"? Older adult readers might hear the voice of Carl Sagan in the narrative, an authoritative, planetarium-movie voice explaining the universe with a focus on "exoplanets," planets that orbit stars outside of our solar system. Kids may imagine Neal DeGrasse Tyson. Woven through the text are the twin narratives of the girl and her family's visit to the planetarium and its "Searching for Exoplanets" exhibition. The illustrations, suffused with glowing light, are dynamically varied, including a colorful double-page spread of the Milky Way galaxy, panels carrying information, fanciful visions of other worlds, and an all-black spread with just one stark sentence in white: "Or maybe it's like nothing we can even imagine." Lanan effectively balances the girl's visual narrative with the heavier scientific exposition of the text. The girl, who has exuberantly kinky hair, and her family present black; other planetarium guests are a diverse group. Thorough backmatter includes books, websites, astronomy clubs, and various websites for further exploration.An attractive and informative volume for young stargazers. (Informational picture book. 6-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781250155337 Manley presents a smart, careful, and thorough discussion of exoplanets. Lanan's illustrations take the concepts to the next level; the choices of scale, color, and detail in her planetary landscapes make visible the text's content. The clever use of a parallel visual narrative, which features a (brown-skinned) girl and her family visiting a planetarium, situates the images of possible other life-supporting worlds in that character's imagination. Timeline, websites. Bib. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781250155337 This is an oversize nonfiction picture book about the search for life on exoplanets ­planets beyond our solar system. The text continually poses open-ended questions ( When you look toward the stars, do you ever wonder if anyone is looking back? ) and presents kid-friendly scenarios that help young readers grasp concepts. The text is woven around an African American girl and her family's visit to a space museum, and incorporates information about astronomy, giant telescopes, types of exoplanets, how to find them, and ongoing space research. Of course, if we do someday find a planet that's just right (meaning, it has all the ingredients necessary to sustain human life), that just opens up another batch of questions: Should we stay quiet and hide from them? If we do send a message, what should we say? The illustrations, which employ deep, night-sky backgrounds, complement the text, whether reinforcing content or advancing the action. This is the best kind of science writing a book that offers as many questions as answers. Aspiring astronomers will love it.--Kathleen McBroom Copyright 2019 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781250155337 Readers join a brown-skinned girl with a polka-dotted backpack as she asks questions about the stars and visits a space museum, where she watches exoplanets careen overhead in a planetarium. In sweeping, inky art, Lanan captures the child's dawning awareness of the vastness of the universe. Manley's writing swings gracefully between factual descriptions ("Earth orbits in our solar system's 'habitable zone''") and more lyrical observations: "All stars twinkle, but some stars also seem to wink at us... as if saying, 'I know a secret.''" Back home after the museum trip, the child considers the types of life-forms that might be out there. Richly informative prose and intimate yet expansive art show a child's contagious enthusiasm for the book's subject. Includes a timeline of astronomical discoveries and suggestions for further reading. Ages 5-9. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781250155337 Gr 2-5-Beginning with the insights of astronomers such as Lucretius and Giordano Bruno and continuing with the observations of a fictional young black girl from the present day, this illuminating book examines the possibility of life on other planets. Manley presents scientific certainties and theories alongside the child and her family's trip to a museum. One spread features text about Earth-like exoplanets paired with illustrations of the girl gazing off open-mouthed at the promising habitable planet surface that exists, for her, beyond the walls of the museum. On some pages, she muses, "If someday we do find evidence of beings like ourselves, what could we do? .We could send them art and poetry and music." The enthusiastic main character lightens what could be weighty scientific information, providing an entry point for newcomers. Lanan's pleasing, watercolorlike artwork moves between expansive visions of outer space and panels that highlight key concepts. VERDICT An ideal addition for libraries building or updating STEAM collections.-Elaine Fultz, Madison Jr. Sr. High School, Middletown, OH © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A young girl looks out her window, pondering the universe. A subsequent family trip to the planetarium gives her a lot to think about.Are we alone in the universe? Are there other "Goldilocks planets" out there capable of sustaining life, planets that are "not too hot and not too cold, not too big and not too small, not too soft and not too hard" but "just right"? Older adult readers might hear the voice of Carl Sagan in the narrative, an authoritative, planetarium-movie voice explaining the universe with a focus on "exoplanets," planets that orbit stars outside of our solar system. Kids may imagine Neal DeGrasse Tyson. Woven through the text are the twin narratives of the girl and her family's visit to the planetarium and its "Searching for Exoplanets" exhibition. The illustrations, suffused with glowing light, are dynamically varied, including a colorful double-page spread of the Milky Way galaxy, panels carrying information, fanciful visions of other worlds, and an all-black spread with just one stark sentence in white: "Or maybe it's like nothing we can even imagine." Lanan effectively balances the girl's visual narrative with the heavier scientific exposition of the text. The girl, who has exuberantly kinky hair, and her family present black; other planetarium guests are a diverse group. Thorough backmatter includes books, websites, astronomy clubs, and various websites for further exploration.An attractive and informative volume for young stargazers. (Informational picture book. 6-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781250155337 Manley presents a smart, careful, and thorough discussion of exoplanets. Lanan's illustrations take the concepts to the next level; the choices of scale, color, and detail in her planetary landscapes make visible the text's content. The clever use of a parallel visual narrative, which features a (brown-skinned) girl and her family visiting a planetarium, situates the images of possible other life-supporting worlds in that character's imagination. Timeline, websites. Bib. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781250155337 This is an oversize nonfiction picture book about the search for life on exoplanets ­planets beyond our solar system. The text continually poses open-ended questions ( When you look toward the stars, do you ever wonder if anyone is looking back? ) and presents kid-friendly scenarios that help young readers grasp concepts. The text is woven around an African American girl and her family's visit to a space museum, and incorporates information about astronomy, giant telescopes, types of exoplanets, how to find them, and ongoing space research. Of course, if we do someday find a planet that's just right (meaning, it has all the ingredients necessary to sustain human life), that just opens up another batch of questions: Should we stay quiet and hide from them? If we do send a message, what should we say? The illustrations, which employ deep, night-sky backgrounds, complement the text, whether reinforcing content or advancing the action. This is the best kind of science writing a book that offers as many questions as answers. Aspiring astronomers will love it.--Kathleen McBroom Copyright 2019 Booklist
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2020 (Younger Readers)
The Last Peach
Book Jacket   Gus Gordon
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781626723504 Do you dare to eat a peach? Certainly the endpapers of this book, which illustrate a variety of mouthwatering peaches, inspire one to do so. Two small, long-nosed insects contemplate the beauty of a particular peach (the very last one of the whole summer), which hangs on a tree above them. They decide they must eat it at once! But when a third green insect with top hat and cane arrives, he cries, Stop! You can't eat that peach! It's the last peach of the season. Hmm. Another tubby, winged character arrives, suggesting that the peach may be stinky and rotten on the inside. Ugh. Well, they could share the peach with all their friends . . . or one could keep it from the other and devour it. Suspense builds, and the magnificent peach remains hanging uneaten, to be admired for its beauty. Contrasting font colors make this a perfect read-aloud for more than one speaker. Collages of fragments of printed words in French, combined with artwork done in watercolor, crayon, and pencil, are surrounded by generous white space, which offsets the round, juicy, delectable peach and the somewhat wacky sartorial dress of the bug-eyed insects with humor and delight. The final surprise ending gives a subtle nod to the ephemeral nature of desire.--Lolly Gepson Copyright 2019 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781626723504 This existential meditation by Gordon (Herman and Rosie) deals with some big questions. Two wide-eyed insects contemplate a red-orange globe that hangs suspended amid green leaves. "Oh my," one exclaims. "Now THAT is a fine peach!" They begin the discussion agreeably enough ("Let's eat it. At once!"), but as others weigh in ("You can't eat that peach!"), attitudes shift to anxiety ("We would probably... get big tummy aches"), then to fantasy ("What if we ate it and could suddenly do magical things?") before spiraling into frank conflict: "''That is MY peach!' 'No, it's MY peach!''" Gordon composes leafy collage-style spreads in paper accented with snippets of vintage French type. The insects bear more than a passing resemblance to the clowns in Beckett's Waiting for Godot; one has a hat and a curling proboscis, while the other sports antennae and a red schnozz. In the wistful ending, the two friends decide that the object of their desire is too beautiful to eat, denying themselves the pleasure they've been anticipating all along. And after they leave, another surprise awaits readers. Some desires, this sly fable suggests, may be founded on illusion. Ages 4-8. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781626723504 PreS-Gr 2-In this picture book charmer, two insects spot a beautiful peach. They want to eat it, but a praying mantis announces that it is the last peach of the season. Another bug says it looks good, but it could be rotten inside. If they ate it, would they feel sick? The two main insects argue and debate, each one getting a different text font color to make the conversation parts clear. Is the peach magic? Should they share it with others? Perhaps write it an admiring poem? When they get into a physical fight over which one of them should claim it, they declare themselves unworthy, and then leave the peach alone. After they depart, the final image reveals a twist. The glowing orb they have been admiring is actually the sun, positioned so it appears to hang on a tree branch. The collage illustrations are made up of many different colors and types of paper that include words in French, while the end pages depict several varieties of peaches in a luscious photorealistic style. VERDICT Use with Du Iz Tak? and James and the Giant Peach to discuss conflict resolution or for a plant-themed storytime.-Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, -Richmond, VA © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Two motley insects contemplate eating the last peach of the season.Gordon presents children with a timeless, rather adult dilemma: how to act in the face of irresistible temptation. Here, two thumb-shaped flylike creaturesone dressed in a Homburg hat and blue-and-white-striped body suit, the other in a red print shirtencounter a sumptuous peach, rosy and golden as the setting sun, still on the branch, and begin to discuss its merits. "It's the most beautiful peach I've seen ALL summer," says the bug dressed in blue. "Wouldn't you agree?" "I do agree," responds the red-shirted friend: "In fact, it's the most beautiful peach I've seen in ALL the summers." The two quickly decide they "must eat that peach at once," but with one page turn, a venerable praying mantis, clad in top hat and cane, stops them, warning: "You can't eat that peach! It's the last peach of the season." In delightfully clever double-page spreads, the two friends then go back and forth, hilariously debating whether to devour the peach together or alone, to share it with others or to leave it entirely. Gordon's witty, collagelike mixed-media illustrations and spare, dialogue-only text not only get at the gnarly pit of indecisionserving up provocative behavioral binaries such as impulsivity versus reflection, indulgence versus sacrifice, hoarding versus sharingbut offer a surprise ending as well.Luscious, light, and thought-provoking: decidedly not to be missed! (Picture book. 3-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Lets Scare Bear
 Yuko Katakawa.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780823439539 PreS-Gr 1—Based on a form of Japanese storytelling, this visually engaging story loses a bit of logic in translation but retains a lot of appeal. Mouse, Fox, Spider, and Snake are about to feast on delicious manju cakes, when Bear passes by and they decide to scare him. Each animal tries and fails, until Bear reveals that his only fear is manju cakes. The animals throw their cakes into his cave and wait. Eventually, Bear emerges, stating "It's scary how much I love manju cake," leaving the animals to go make new cakes. The reasoning for scaring bear is flimsy at best, and his slick trick may be lost on young readers. Nevertheless, the text is brief and well paced, with a folklorish storytelling style that reads aloud well with nary a wasted word. The mixed-media, mostly full-bleed illustrations are reminiscent of Eric Rohmann's work, with heavy outlines, saturated backgrounds, and expressively faced animals. Bear is enormous and dominates the pages, and spider weaves commentary with her silk. Katakawa makes great use of perspective and movement, encouraging page turns and effectively drawing the eye. Fox and Bear each display some pretty scary toothy snarls, but the rest of the illustrations are in good fun. VERDICT While the story line is slim, the arresting visuals and nicely cadenced text make this an excellent candidate for storytimes. Most libraries will want to add it to their shelves.—Amy Lilien-Harper, Wilton Library, CT
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780823439539 With his sharp claws and ferocious teeth, Bear is known as the biggest, bravest animal in the forest. He scares the other woodland creatures, but is there anything that can frighten Bear himself? In her charming debut, author-illustrator Katakawa answers this question as four forest inhabitants Fox, Mouse, Snake, and Spider try to scare the unflappable bear. After several funny, failed attempts leave the smaller critters at wits' end, Bear admits the one thing that scares him very much: manju cake, a sweet treat that the other creatures have been enjoying without him. But can they actually scare him with this new information? The answer comes with a fun surprise, along with a lesson about friendship, bullying, and bravery. This lighthearted tale is a twist on a classic story from the Japanese oral tradition of rakugo, making for a delightful read-aloud. Mixed-media illustrations add energy to the excitement, and the delectable subject may have children demanding a manju cake before the end.--Emily Graham Copyright 2019 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780823439539 Katakawa makes a spirited debut, employing a panoply of visual styles. As she explains in her author's note, the story is based on "Manju Kowai" ("Scared of Buns") a classic from rakugo, the Japanese storytelling tradition. Mouse, Snake, Spider, and Fox are just sitting down for tea when Bear imperiously thumps through the forest. At Mouse's suggestion, the friends decide to "scare Bear," but they fail miserably (Mouse is a total washout at delivering a commanding "Boo!"). Then Bear reveals the one thing he fears: manju cake, the Japanese bun stuffed with sweet filling. "Don't even mention it!" Bear says, and as the smaller creatures look on in amazement, he covers his eyes and quakes with fear before skulking off to his cave. The smaller creatures promptly hurl all their manju cakes into the cave (Snake knocks one in with its head, soccer-style) and wait for the inevitable surrender. Bear emerges, patting his belly, smacking his lips, and looking anything but frightened. "It's scary how much I love manju cake," he says. Yes, the big guy wins this one, but readers should be tickled by Bear's willingness to play the fool for the sake of a yummy treat. Ages 4-8. Agent: Rachel Orr, Prospect Agency. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780823439539 As they enjoy afternoon tea, including sweet manju cakes (steamed buns filled with red bean paste), four woodland-creature friends decide to scare a bear passing by. All their tactics fail--until the bear ‘admits’ his deepest fear: manju cake. The animals lob the cakes into the bear's cave and are surprised by the bear's pleased reaction. The mixed-media illustrations reward close inspection with clever details. Based on ‘Manju Kowai’ or ‘Scared of Buns,’ a story from the Japanese oral storytelling tradition of rakugo. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Four friends take turns trying to scare Bear.Mouse, Fox, Snake, and Spider love manju cake, a Japanese steamed bun with sweet filling. As they're about to enjoy a manju feast, Bear thumps by. Seeing as Bear is the biggest and bravest animal around, the four friends decide to scare him. Fox goes first, baring his sharp teeth, but Bear just flashes his teeth back. Spider, Snake, and Mouse follow with their tricks, but nothing can scare Bear. Finally, Bear says only one thing scares him: manju cakes. While Bear hides in his cave at the very thought, the four friends attempt to scare Bear one last timebut Bear plays the best trick of all. Katakawa's debut picture book is a funny tale of silly scare tactics and tricks. Based on a classic Japanese rakugo tale called "Manju Kowai," Katakawa's telling emphasizes cute animals and a one-line lesson that sharing may be better than scaring. The friendly, cartoon illustrations are bold and lively. Using digital drawing techniques, Katakawa adds movement and depth to the images as well as small details (Snake's spectacles, Mouse's overalls, Spider's web-written dialogue) that add fun and context to the short text. A fun twist on a tale from Japanese oral storytelling tradition, great for reading aloud. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Lion of the Sky: Haiku for All Seasons.
 Laura Purdie Salas
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781512498097 Organized in four sections beginning with spring, Salas's lovely haiku are written in the voices of animals and organic or inanimate objects related to the seasons. "Fire in our bellies,/ we FLICKER-FLASH in twilight-/ rich meadow of stars," speak the summer's fireflies. Each haiku contains a riddle element-readers must guess the narrator (in an author's note, Salas refers to the form as a "riddle-ku"). It's not always clear who, or what, is speaking, but LA3pez's evocative acrylics visually communicate the imagery within the poems. "I'm a WRIGGLING tube,/ soft underground tunneler-/ I fear early birds," one announces. The small bird hovering over a hole clues readers in to the speaker's identity: a worm. The book's meditative tone and resonant images invite readers to embrace new ways of seeing the world around them. Ages 5-9. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781512498097 Divided into four sections by season, these "riddle-ku" poems use innovative language to represent something traditionally associated with each one. (For back-to-school in fall, for example: what is "a yellow train / carrying thoughts from your brain / to the waiting page?" A pencil.) In addition to helping readers solve the puzzles, the supporting acrylic and digital illustrations capture movement and texture through strong lines and seasonal hues. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. In this spirited collaboration, Salas and Lpez present 24 suggestive poetic snapshots chronicling the cycle of a year. Highlighting season-appropriate objects for spring, fall, summer, and winter, Salas magnifies the spareness of the haiku form by turning each concentrated first-person portrait into a riddle as she tantalizingly omits naming the subject describing itself. Meanwhile Lpez offers young and pre-readers florid visual hints, depicting in deft brush strokes and lush colors the author's hidden subjects. Combined, these artists render objects gentle as summer's fireflies ("fire in our bellies / we FLICKER-FLASH in twilight / rich meadow of stars") or winter's snowflakes ("I'm cold confetti / falling from a crystal sky, / blanketing the town," here shown as a white-roofed town in a snow globe painted against a wintry verdigris sky spackled with haphazard white blots) or bold as a fall jack-o'-lantern ("I perch on the porch, / spooky face frozen in place, / fire BURNING inside"glowering large with flaming orange eyes as the finger of a ghostly trick-or-treater rings the doorbell in the background). What sets this volume apart from similar haiku explorations of the seasons is the tight synthesis of visual object and oblique verbal depiction, making for both wonderfully contemplative experiences of each illustrated poem and the seamless progression of nature's cycle through the year.Richly rewarding and clever: a visually arresting, inventive treatment of a popular subject. (Picture book/poetry. 5-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781512498097 Gr 1-4-A sleek bird kite flown by a child in springtime kicks off this poetic collection of seasonal objects, animals, and activities. Six poems per season invite audience observation and enjoyment. First-time readers may not realize that each haiku is also a riddle with a list of answers found at the end of the book. Only in her concluding author's note does Salas describe the structure she calls "riddle-ku." Readers are meant to guess the identity of the non-human narrator in each poem. She also notes that the non-human voices make these "mask poems." Simple instructions then encourage readers to compose their own riddle-ku. The expansive acrylic scenes featuring children, animals and/or objects offer visual cues about the narrators. For instance, the leaves talk as a child happily bounces in a pile of them. Salas often sets a playful tone and is adept with language. Her diction and syntax are simple and fun. Paired with other seasonal materials, this book offers ample discussion and teaching opportunities with individual readers or groups. VERDICT This well-crafted work contains versatile possibilities for classrooms and libraries.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781512498097 In this charming, beautifully illustrated collection, arranged by season, Salas employs a form she calls riddle-ku, a first-person haiku that hints at the speaker, inviting readers to guess its identity, typically an object or being associated with a season. For example, Spring opens with I am a wind bird, / sky skipper, diamond dipper, / DANCING on your string, and López's accompanying illustration depicts a soaring, large, red, bird-shaped kite guided by a boy holding the string below. Summer showcases fireflies, baseball, and fireworks. Fall features a school building ( my first-day outfit / is fresh paint and polished floors / here come my new friends! ), apple picking, and jack-o'-lanterns, while Winter includes snow, ice skates, and a hibernating animal: In fur coat and cave / I exhale white clouds of breath, / DREAM of sun . . . green . . . spring. The eloquent language ranges from philosophical to whimsical, and that tone is reflected in the colorful acrylic paintings, which nicely combine realism and abstract touches and provide visual clues. An author's note offers the inspiration behind her riddle-ku, with encouragement for readers to create their own; an answer key; and a further-reading list. While the riddles' mystique may wane once little ones solve them, the wonderfully evocative, vivid imagery in text and art also make this a welcome addition for poetry classroom units.--Shelle Rosenfeld Copyright 2019 Booklist
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Lucas Bridge El Puente de Luca
Book Jacket   Mariana Llanos
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Luca and his family self-deport to Mexico after receiving a letter. Because neither Luca's mother nor his father has "papers," they can no longer live in the United States even though the boy and his brother, Paco, are U.S. citizens. Saddened, they cross the border and drive to Grandma's house. Luca, who speaks no Spanish, finds solace in his trumpet. When he falls asleep, he dreams he crosses a bridge of music back over the border. After visiting his old home, he flies to his school and plays a song for his friends who have gathered to greet him. The experience makes him so happy he wakes up laughing, and his entire family joins in as sadness flies out the window. Their laughter builds a bridge of hope to the home they were forced to abandon. Llanos' bilingual snapshot of American children trapped by complicated immigration policies meanders in a disjointed journey across the southern border. The abrupt, nave ending implies that because Luca can visit his friends and home in his dreams, all is well, and he and his family are no longer depressed. Lpez Real's manga-inflected illustrations are heavily symbolic, but sometimes they inexplicably diverge from the narrative. Where a bridge is mentioned, there is only a dilapidated fence; where a hill is described, there is a flat valley. In addition, details unnecessarily change from scene to scene. A Spanish version of the text, also written by Llanos, runs alongside the English. Despite flaws, this book can serve as a springboard for discussion of this timely and sensitive issue. (author's note) (Bilingual picture book. 5-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780998799957 Though Luca and his brother are U.S. citizens, their parents aren't. Instead of risking deportation, the family decides to return to their native Mexico. The new environment is difficult for Luca, who finds relief only in his golden trumpet. In a dream, the young musician is transported to his former home where there is joy, music, and laughter. Upon waking he realizes that music and family can bridge his present and past and perhaps his future. This bilingual text brims with homesickness but also optimism. Fanciful illustrations reflect Luca's mood dark shades when he's troubled and bright yellows when he's encouraged. Together, the narrative and images offer hope for readers experiencing this difficult situation and empathy for those who aren't. Back matter includes an author's note further discussing deportation.--Shelley M. Diaz Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2020 (Younger Readers)
The Many Colors of Harpreet Singh
Book Jacket   Supriya Kelkar
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Indian American Harpreet Singh is a practicing Sikh and has a different color patka, or head covering, for every occasion.He wears yellow when he feels sunny and cheerful, pink when he feels like celebrating, and red when he wants to feel brave. When his mother gets a job in a small snowy town across the country, Harpreet is apprehensive about the move despite his parents' assurance that it will be an adventure. Harpreet begins to wear colors for not-so-happy occasions: He wears blue to the airport because he's nervous and gray when he's sad. Most often of all, however, Harpreet wears white, as he feels shy and doesn't want to be seen. Will Harpreet ever feel like his cheerful self in his new home? Kelkar's telling of Harpreet's story is crisp and straightforward, and Marley's bright illustrations tactfully and subtly convey cultural differences that make Harpreet feel different from and invisible to his peers. In the lunchroom scene with all the other children, for example, Harpreet has in front of him a large plate of traditional Indian chapati (bread) and dal (lentils), whereas his peers are shown munching on more "American" dishes (like cake). An afterword by Simran Jeet Singh, a scholar and professor of Sikhism, helps contextualize this story for readers who are not familiar with the religion.This simple yet sensitive story about a child coming to terms with things beyond his control will resonate across cultures. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781454931843 K-Gr 2—Harpreet cherishes his colorful patkas, a style of Sikh turban often worn by young boys, and he carefully selects the color to telegraph his mood each day: "He wore yellow when he felt sunny, spreading cheer everywhere he went. He wore pink when he felt like celebrating, bopping along to bhangra beats." When Harpreet and his family leave the warm beaches of California for a snowy town across the country, Harpreet's color palette changes as he relies on brave reds, nervous blues, sad grays, and shy whites which replace his happier moods. The long cold winter makes Harpreet feel even more like an outsider, until one day in the snow he finds a hat that belongs to a classmate. When he returns the hat, a friendship blooms and Harpreet feels colorful again. The digital illustrations depict Harpreet as joyful and exuberant, which makes his shift to sadness and isolation after the move palpable. Subtle details in the illustrations, such as kids staring at Harpreet's "different" lunch, position him not only as the new kid, but underscore his feelings of isolation as a cultural outsider. Harpreet's symbolic color system is used masterfully to add depth to the illustrations, as on the page where Harpreet sits, small and alone wearing shy white, on a background of joyful celebratory pink as a cascade of Valentines—most with his name misspelled—floats away. VERDICT A lovely story about change and belonging that provides much-needed representation. A first purchase for all libraries.—Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781454931843 A young boy copes with change through self-expression in this wonderful picture book. Harpreet wears different colored patkas, a common head covering worn by young Sikh boys, to highlight how he feels each day. From celebratory to unsure, the colors allow him to nonverbally communicate his state of mind in an effective way. When it is time to move across the country, away from the sunny beaches he loves to a snowier climate, his anxiety is demonstrated this way as well. From nervousness to shyness, the color of his patka signals his unhappiness about the change, until chance helps him make a new friend with a special “hat” of her own. The fantastic illustrations perfectly complement the storytelling, and the ending is sure to make young readers smile. The note at the end from a Sikh scholar helps explain the religion and the significance of the turbans practitioners wear. This tale of acceptance and growth is a definitive purchase for children’s collections, and will be shared for years to come.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Indian American Harpreet Singh is a practicing Sikh and has a different color patka, or head covering, for every occasion.He wears yellow when he feels sunny and cheerful, pink when he feels like celebrating, and red when he wants to feel brave. When his mother gets a job in a small snowy town across the country, Harpreet is apprehensive about the move despite his parents' assurance that it will be an adventure. Harpreet begins to wear colors for not-so-happy occasions: He wears blue to the airport because he's nervous and gray when he's sad. Most often of all, however, Harpreet wears white, as he feels shy and doesn't want to be seen. Will Harpreet ever feel like his cheerful self in his new home? Kelkar's telling of Harpreet's story is crisp and straightforward, and Marley's bright illustrations tactfully and subtly convey cultural differences that make Harpreet feel different from and invisible to his peers. In the lunchroom scene with all the other children, for example, Harpreet has in front of him a large plate of traditional Indian chapati (bread) and dal (lentils), whereas his peers are shown munching on more "American" dishes (like cake). An afterword by Simran Jeet Singh, a scholar and professor of Sikhism, helps contextualize this story for readers who are not familiar with the religion.This simple yet sensitive story about a child coming to terms with things beyond his control will resonate across cultures. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781454931843 K-Gr 2—Harpreet cherishes his colorful patkas, a style of Sikh turban often worn by young boys, and he carefully selects the color to telegraph his mood each day: "He wore yellow when he felt sunny, spreading cheer everywhere he went. He wore pink when he felt like celebrating, bopping along to bhangra beats." When Harpreet and his family leave the warm beaches of California for a snowy town across the country, Harpreet's color palette changes as he relies on brave reds, nervous blues, sad grays, and shy whites which replace his happier moods. The long cold winter makes Harpreet feel even more like an outsider, until one day in the snow he finds a hat that belongs to a classmate. When he returns the hat, a friendship blooms and Harpreet feels colorful again. The digital illustrations depict Harpreet as joyful and exuberant, which makes his shift to sadness and isolation after the move palpable. Subtle details in the illustrations, such as kids staring at Harpreet's "different" lunch, position him not only as the new kid, but underscore his feelings of isolation as a cultural outsider. Harpreet's symbolic color system is used masterfully to add depth to the illustrations, as on the page where Harpreet sits, small and alone wearing shy white, on a background of joyful celebratory pink as a cascade of Valentines—most with his name misspelled—floats away. VERDICT A lovely story about change and belonging that provides much-needed representation. A first purchase for all libraries.—Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781454931843 A young boy copes with change through self-expression in this wonderful picture book. Harpreet wears different colored patkas, a common head covering worn by young Sikh boys, to highlight how he feels each day. From celebratory to unsure, the colors allow him to nonverbally communicate his state of mind in an effective way. When it is time to move across the country, away from the sunny beaches he loves to a snowier climate, his anxiety is demonstrated this way as well. From nervousness to shyness, the color of his patka signals his unhappiness about the change, until chance helps him make a new friend with a special “hat” of her own. The fantastic illustrations perfectly complement the storytelling, and the ending is sure to make young readers smile. The note at the end from a Sikh scholar helps explain the religion and the significance of the turbans practitioners wear. This tale of acceptance and growth is a definitive purchase for children’s collections, and will be shared for years to come.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
A Map into the World
 Kao Kalia Yang
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781541538368 Gr 2–5—The world can be a lonely and confusing place, but with the right companionship, it can be more easily navigated. Paj Ntaub and her Hmong family move into a new house with a swing and a garden, just in time to welcome her new baby twin brothers into their home. Her family befriends the elderly couple across the street, often waving back and forth, especially when things are overwhelming inside the houses. Over the winter, the man's wife dies, and when the weather again turns warm, Paj Ntaub executes a brave and insightful plan to reach out to her grieving neighbor. Written in a simple style with lyrical phrases peppered throughout, the heartfelt narrative allows readers to appreciate the depth the child's musings. The endpapers showcase a story cloth depicting how the Hmong people came to America. Beautiful, detailed illustrations are rich in color, texture, and emotion, lifting the story off the page; an emotional ending will leave tears in the eyes of some readers. VERDICT This is an excellent addition to elementary school libraries, especially as an enhancement to selections about intergenerational love and acceptance, and immigration stories about bridging cultures.—Mary Lanni, formerly at Denver Public Library
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781541538368 A Hmong American family--mother, father, Tais Tais (grandmother), and little girl--moves into a cozy house across the street from a loving elderly couple, Bob and Ruth. The girl's twin baby brothers are born; the seasons pass; the outdoor landscape changes; and in wintertime Ruth dies. When spring comes, Bob takes his seat on the "special bench" that he and Ruth had shared; it's clear that he is grieving, and the little girl uses her skill with sidewalk chalk--and her great compassion--to brighten up his outlook and their neighborhood. Yang's story is an understated (if somewhat sentimental) snapshot of family life over the course of a quietly transformative year. The text is straightforward and spare, with touches of lyricism ("The house across the street looked empty. The gingko trees reached for the sky with their thin fingers"). Culturally specific details are naturally incorporated into the text and into the textured, delicate-lined, digitally created illustrations. A brief glossary on the copyright page explains that the protagonist's name, Paj Ntaub, is both a girl's name and the word for the traditional needlework often used to create story cloths like the one hanging on the family's wall (also shown in close-up detail on the endpapers), "which visually represent and document the experiences of the Hmong people across time, including families' journeys as refugees. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A young Hmong American girl shares the small things of wonder that make up her world.When Paj Ntaub moves into a new green house with big windows with her family, the garden grows with "tomatoes, green beans, and a watermelon as round as my mother's belly." Soon, the green house becomes their house. Paj Ntaub helps "Tais Tais hang the special story cloth about how the Hmong got to America." She exchanges waves with her neighbors Bob and Ruth, an elderly white couple even older than Tais Tais. And changing seasons usher in life and death. In gentle prose, Yang's picture-book debut explores nature, community, and connection. Twin brothers are born amid the summer bounty in the garden. On a snowy, cold morning, loss arrives, and bare gingko trees "[reach] for the sky with their thin fingers" against the new emptiness of the house across the street. When the world becomes green again, Paj Ntaub draws together these connections in a neighborly gesture of comfort. Using digital graphite, pastels, watercolor, and scanned handmade textures, Kim brings detailed dimension to the green house and the world around it. Alternating perspectives capture the expansiveness of the outside as well as the intimacy of Paj Ntaub's observations.Contemplative, curious, and kind. (Picture book. 5-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781541538368 Yang (The Song Poet for adults), a Hmong writer making her picture book debut, offers a story about a girl who notices things. Young Paj Ntaub (both a girl’s name and a term that nods to needlework tellings of Hmong experiences) moves with her family to a green house and helps to hang their story cloth “about how the Hmong got to America” on the wall. When her twin baby brothers cry too loudly, her father takes her outside, where they wave to their elderly neighbors, Bob and Ruth. In lovingly detailed spreads, Kim, making her U.S. debut, draws all the things that Paj Ntaub sees: gingko leaves (“yellow like apricots”), winter snow, a worm. When Ruth dies in the winter, and Paj Ntaub notices Bob grieving come spring, she chalks a wealth of previously regarded details on his driveway—“a map into the world,” she explains. Though age separates them, Paj Ntaub’s accounting of everyday details reaches Bob—and gives voice to the child’s experience, too. A distinctive story that weaves together threads of family life, community and culture, the natural world, and the power of stories. Ages 7–8. (Oct.)
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781541538368 A year brings many changes to a Hmong girl's world. Paj Ntaub and her family move to their house in the summer, when her mother's belly is round with twins and the garden is flourishing. Across the street live Ruth and Bob, an elderly couple with whom they exchange friendly waves. The seasons change, twins are born, and Ruth dies. To comfort Bob, Paj Ntaub makes a chalk drawing on his driveway that features elements from her year and nods to the story cloth her family keeps that commemorates their journey to America. Although readers see the story cloth on the wall and at the end, what it details is never really explained, though a brief note on the copyright page describes what it is and who the Hmong people are. This is more of a relationship story, showing how Paj Ntaub engages with her brothers and grandmother and how neighboring families come together when sadness strikes. Kim's digital artwork using pastels, graphite, watercolors, and hand-scanned textures captures the warmth of family, the charm of changing seasons, and the depth of friendships.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Moth
 Isabel Thomas
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781547600205 Over Egnéus' truly engrossing collage illustrations, Thomas takes the complicated concept of evolution and distills it for young readers, using the ongoing story of the peppered moth. There are two variations of this moth one charcoal dark, the other paler and lightly speckled. Once, the speckled moths were more common; it was more difficult for the charcoal moths to camouflage themselves against the light-colored trees, and they were eaten by birds more frequently and did not survive to pass along their genes. But as the world became more industrial, pollution began to darken trees; now the charcoal moths blended in, and the speckled moths stood out. Charcoal moths grew in number, and the speckled moths almost disappeared. But the story continues, ending on a hopeful note: slowly, cities began to burn less coal, and the air grew cleaner. Trees grew less sooty. And the speckled moth population rebounded. Today, both kinds of moth can be found, and their species continues to adapt. From its striking silver-plated cover on, this is a stunner. The text, both poetic and informational, tells an evolution story while transmitting a gentle environmental message, and the artwork is detailed, at times alarming, and always captivating. Back matter provides further information on the moths and natural selection. A gorgeous blend of text and illustrations and a wonderfully successful introduction to nonfiction for younger readers.--Maggie Reagan Copyright 2019 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781547600205 Silvery, incandescent cover art will entice readers to this story of adaptation and the peppered moths of England. Thomas (the Little Guides to Great Lives series) introduces natural selection through a lyrical telling of the moth's history from the early 19th century on. The narrative recounts how the population of light peppered moths thrived, able to rest "on lichen-covered branches" until the Industrial Revolution, when dark peppered moths increased, owing to their ability to camouflage against polluted landscapes. ("A bird went hunting for a snack./ Now the world was darker./ Which moths were disguised?/ Which moths would survive?") Today, thanks to cleaner forms of energy, both variations "find places to hide and survive." Mixed media and digital illustrations by Egnéus (These Are Animals) show the mottled, wispy figures-the wing patterns resemble intricate tree silhouettes-against bold splashes of color and patterns. The elegant moth images can seem slightly at odds with the cartoonlike depictions of people and environs, but an evolving color palette (from light to dark and back to light) and dynamic juxtaposing of hues create a sophisticated effect. Back matter further defines the concepts presented in this eye-catching introduction to Darwinian evolution. Ages 6-10. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781547600205 In a shadowy (pre-industrial) wood, a peppered moth--its "speckled, freckled" patterns wonderfully detailed in Egnius's gorgeous mixed-media illustrations--attempts to survive; all-black moths stand out and are quickly eaten. But things change: with soot from nineteenth-century industrialization, the black moths are now hidden. Thomas deftly builds an easily understandable explanation of natural selection into the well-paced narrative. Back matter shows both variations of the peppered moth. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Thomas presents the peppered moth as an emblem of natural selection, tracking its adaptations during the Industrial Revolution and beyond.The moth's striking salt-and-pepper scales, which enhanced its camouflage during daytime rests on lichen, became an impediment as late-19th-century industrial pollution prevailed. As lichens died and industrial soot blackened tree bark, the species' occasional dark moth's advantages resulted in an adaptation. With the light, speckled moths more easily spotted and eaten by prey, surviving dark moths procreated, dominating the species within a 50-year time span. In turn, the answering trend toward pollution mitigation swung the pendulum back. Lichens reappeared, soot-stained bark fell away, and the light moths' camouflage value reasserted itself, with both dark and light moths seen today. Thomas narrates this biological success story in past tense and simple, declarative prose. Egnus' lovely illustrationsin traditional mixed media and Photoshopprovide a stylized overview of the moth's adaptive journey. The bilateral symmetry of the peppered moth's wing coloration is ignored in favor of exquisite, dark umber-and-gray montages evoking dry-brushed ink blots and sun-dappled botanical silhouettes. Forest tableaux yield to industrialization's coal-powered factories and locomotives, Egnus' palette morphs from natural hues to rust-red and soot-blackand back, to today's tentative, hopeful blues. (Depicted humans are light-skinned and red-nosed.) An inspired choice for text type (Tom's New Roman) and a gorgeous, silver-embellished cover enhance the package. A fascinating story with striking visuals. (author's note) (Informational picture book. 5-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781547600205 PreS-Gr 1—Thomas and Egnéus show how adaptation and natural selection work in the evolutionary process in order to change a species. In Great Britain, when industry heavily relied on coal, environmental factors affected the survival rates of the peppered moth, because predators could now see what was once camouflaged. The text and illustrations are clear and move at a steady pace with a summary in the back matter, which solidifies the content. Despite the lack of source material, the value of this text is high. Children will understand how the environment can change an animal's survival rate and the passing of its genetic information. Moths as a subject do not usually garner high circulation rates, but if this book is placed in a display, the cover will attract attention. The illustrations throughout are mixed media, but the cover literally shines: silvery moths against a night sky is an attention grabber. Originally published in Great Britain in 2018, this text will enhance any juvenile nonfiction collection. VERDICT Buy this title for its clear presentation.—Nancy Call, formerly at Santa Cruz Public Libraries, Aptos, CA
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2020 (Younger Readers)
My Footprints
Book Jacket   Bao Phi
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781684460007 Thuy is bullied at school. Whether it's her Vietnamese heritage, the fact of her two mothers, or for no reason at all, it makes her angry. On her way home, she imagines herself differently. Should she be a bird and fly away or a deer moving silently in the snow? Her imagination grows about what kind of creature she can become, and she informs her moms she wants to be a big, scary monster. Learning what has provoked Thuy, they support and encourage her until finally she settles on the most powerful creature of all: ""It can fly, and swim, and run . . . it's both a boy and girl and its skin color keeps changing and it never makes fun of anyone."" Using her mothers' names and her own, she declares it an ""Arti-Thuy-Ngoc-osaurus!"" As in his Caldecott Honor Book A Different Pond (2017), Phi deeply understands both differences and family bonds. Tran's soft, rounded artwork adds an unexpected flavor to a story that goes deep into the power of imagination and empathy.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781684460007 Gr 1–3—The story opens with a young Vietnamese-American girl named Thuy being laughed at again by two kids as she's leaving school alone on a winter day. It's clear in Thuy's expressions how upsetting the bullies' taunts are. Walking through the crunchy snow, she looks behind her and notices her footprints. Thuy continues on her way home "dipping the tips of her boots deep into the snow…, wanting to feel peaceful, quiet, left alone." She reaches home to find her moms outside shoveling snow. When Thuy doesn't want to talk about her day she storms off, making tracks in the snow like a snake. Thuy works through her emotions of anger and sadness by mimicking different animals' footprints in the snow—a spotted leopard "that can blend into its surroundings and disappear if it's threatened," then a grizzly bear—"strong and brave, a bear stands up for itself. Other animals are afraid to make fun of it." When Momma Arti and Momma Ngoc join Thuy in the backyard she asks them what the strongest animal is. When Momma Arti suggest an elephant, Thuy declares: "I want to be the biggest and strongest and scariest monster…so that if kids at school make fun of me for having two moms, or tell me to go back to where I come from, or call me names. Or bother me because I'm a girl, I can make them stop." There it is. So begins a game with the three making footprints of their favorite animals Thuy makes up her own creature—"one that never hurts or makes fun of anyone"—an "Arti-Thuy-Ngoc-osaurus!" The story ends with the three holding hands, chanting "our footprints", making heart shapes in the snow. Back matter includes a deeply personal author's note mentioning his own history of being bullied. Basia Tran's illustrations are pitch perfect and make the story all the more poignant. VERDICT A timeless and important book that deals with the fallout of bullying and the power of a child's imagination to overcome with the strength and support of a loving family.—Megan Kilgallen, Packer Collegiate Institute, Brooklyn
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Thuy wants to overcome the bullies that taunt her. Graphite-and-digital color illustrations show Thuy sadly walking home from menacing bullies at school. Thuy is Asian and wears an adorable cat hat over her straight, shoulder-length black hair. Tran's bubbly cartoon style excels at Thuy's many facial expressions. In "the crisp, white blanket of new snow," Thuy's footprints begin to embody animals that she admires: "V" shapes for a cardinal that can fly from danger, deep stomps for a towering grizzly bear, and others. When her two loving parents, Momma Ngoc and Momma Arti (the former likely Vietnamese, like Thuy, and the latter South Asian), join her in this therapeutic imaginary play, together all three become a phoenix, then the Hindu Sarabha, and then a whole new creaturecomplete with heart-shaped footprints. By including colorful double-page spreads of the phoenix and Sarabha and further information about these ancient creatures in the backmatter, the book sends a powerful message about the strength children can draw from their own cultural heritage. With this story about two moms joining their daughter through child-centered play to face adversity as one, Phi explains in his author's note, he hopes to nurture the marginalized and challenge "systems of harm." Even though Thuy's repetition of the titular phrase stilts the story's rhythm at times, this doesn't overshadow the underlying message: It's good to open up to the people who love you.Both a meaningful effort toward inclusion and a solid conversation starter about bullying. (Picture book. 5-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
My Grandma and Me
Book Jacket   Mina Javaherbin
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780763694944 The author reminisces about her grandmother, with whom she spent a childhood in Iran. Short vignettes fondly describe mundane activities: waking up together for namaz (Islamic prayer), collecting bread from the delivery boy, visiting their Christian neighbors next door. Little Mina plays hopscotch with her friend while their grandmothers knit together a usefully inclusive note, as most of the memories revolve around Islamic tradition. Mina helps her grandma craft long, veiling chadors, and during Ramadan she playfully pretends to join in the fasting. Yankey's mixed-media illustrations will transport readers to an idyllic twentieth-century Iran, recalling the style of Persian art, with dusty, muted colors and intricately patterned rugs. A sweet tranquility is evoked in all the elements, touched by a gentle melancholy when Mina and her friend imagine their grandmas together in heaven. While this book presents a relationship in a specific cultural context, a subtle message of interreligious peace and unity shines through, supported by the memories' emotional universality, through which young readers will learn empathy and cultural understanding.--Ronny Khuri Copyright 2019 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780763694944 PreS-Gr 2—Grandparents can have an enormous effect on their grandchildren and books that showcase such relationships are always welcome. The Iranian grandmother here has endless patience and love for her little granddaughter. When Grandma swept, the child swept; when Grandma prayed, the girl prayed; and when Grandma cooked, her granddaughter did as well. She follows her around daily, mirroring everything she does. The love and kindness the child receives is satisfying and speaks to the bond between the two characters. Some of their interactions are specific to their culture, such as fasting during Ramadan and donning their chadors and walking together to the mosque. The illustrations are created using a soft, inviting palette that incorporates tile and rug patterns particular to Iran. This book offers both windows and mirrors into a warm and loving familial relationship and will be appreciated by a wide range of young readers. VERDICT A lovely book for anyone looking for intergenerational stories for one-on-one or group sharing.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780763694944 “When I was growing up in Iran, my grandma lived with us. I followed her everywhere. When she swept, I swept. When she cooked, I cooked. When she prayed, I prayed like her, too.” Thus begins Javaherbin’s narrative tribute to her Iranian grandmother, which affectionately sweeps the reader into the heart of their daily relationship. Readers follow along as the two say namaz at dawn, buy bread to share with their neighbors, sew chadors, and share a meal during Ramadan. In blues, roses, and golds, Yankey’s exquisite mixed-media illustrations relay details: Persian designs, dreams of space travel, baskets of bread hoisted from the street. Together, the narrative and images result in a deeply personal story that offers a broader portrait of a tender familial experience. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Love, childhood adventures, religion, and tradition are the centerpieces of this book about the author and her late grandmother, with whom she grew up in the same household in pre-revolutionary Iran.The narrator joins her grandmother, whom she loves dearly, in everything as she goes about her day. When grandma sweeps, she does too; when grandma wakes up for prayer at dawn, she does too; and when grandma sews herself a chador, she helps, even if nominally. The delicately lined illustrations gracefully evince both the mundane and the magic in the details of the narrator's everyday life as a child: the boy delivering towers of bread on his bike; Ramadan meals with her grandma, both at home and at the mosque; and playtime with her friend Annette while both of their grandmothers chat, knit blankets, and drink coffee. This sweet story is intermingled naturally with details about Iranian and Islamic traditions and values and supported by such visuals as an easy mix of traditional and Western attire and thoughtful inclusion of Persian design elements. It peaks in a moment of solidarity between the two grandmothers, each praying for the other to go to heaven, but via their different Muslim and Christian religions: a poignant, inclusive note. In its celebration of specific manifestations of universal love, this is highly recommended for families and educators, Muslim and non- alike, looking to teach children about Islam.A deep and beautiful book modeling grandmothers as heroines. (Picture book. 4-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
My Papi Has a Motorcycle.
 Isabel Quintero
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780525553410 Daisy Ramona loves riding on the back of her papi's motorcycle. After a long day of work, Papi picks up Daisy, and they zigzag through the streets of their neighborhood, zooming past Tortillería la Estrella and Joy's Market. Daisy loves this time with her papi, but she also notices her neighborhood changing. Don Rudy's Raspados used to be their favorite spot, but it's gone out of business. Quintero tells a beautiful story about a special father-daughter bonding moment, layered with a tale of gentrification impacting their neighborhood. Young readers will relate to Daisy's anticipation to spend time with a loved one and will understand Daisy's concern for her changing community. Peña's dynamic illustrations a mix of digital techniques and watercolors in a muted, tropical palette are packed with action, smiles, tenderness, and resilience. The neighborhood Peña has created with his art fully captures the love Quintero's characters have for the cultural roots of their home. Occasional inset panels and text bubbles in the illustrations add more community voices and details to Daisy's story neighbors greet and cheer for her, dogs go wild as she zooms by. Andrea Montejo's translation in the Spanish edition accurately embraces the sentiment in Quintero's narrative. This is a heartwarming story that centers joy in the midst of looming change. Other Latinx children's books with themes of family and community include Juan Felipe Herrera's Grandma and Me at the Flea (2002) and Maybe Something Beautiful (2016), by F. Isabel Campoy.--Sonia Alejandra Rodríguez Copyright 2019 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A screaming, bright-blue comet zooms through the streets of Corona, California, in a race against the orange setting sun. A unicorn-decorated purple helmet can't hide the grin of the young girl tightly gripping the waist of her carpenter father, who's hunched over his blazing motorcycle as a comet tail of sawdust streams behind them. Basking in her father's wordless expression of love, she watches the flash of colors zip by as familiar landmarks blend into one another. Changes loom all around them, from the abandoned raspado (snow cone) shop to the housing construction displacing old citrus groves. Yet love fills in the spaces between nostalgia and the daily excitement of a rich life shared with neighbors and family. Quintero's homage to her papi and her hometown creates a vivid landscape that weaves in and out of her little-girl memory, jarring somewhat as it intersects with adult recollections. At the end, her family buys raspados from a handcartare the vendor and defunct shop's owner one and the same? Pea's comic-book-style illustrations capture cultural-insider Mexican-American references, such as a book from Cathy Camper and Ral the Third's Lowrider series and the Indigenous jaguar mask on the protagonist's brother's T-shirt. Dialogue in speech bubbles incorporates both Spanish and English, and the gist of the conversation is easily followed; a fully Spanish edition releases simultaneously.Every girl should be so lucky as to have such a papi. (Picture book. 7-11) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525553410 K-Gr 2-A radiant ode to a young girl's father and her L.A. neighborhood. Every evening, Daisy and her papi snap on their helmets (hers is purple with a unicorn, his a black vintage variety) and begin their ride on his electric blue motorcycle through Corona, CA. At times they "roar past" taquerias and murals, and other times they "cruise," greeting family and neighbors as they pass by. All the while, Daisy absorbs the sights, sounds, and smells of her beloved hometown, imprinting its idiosyncrasies into memory. Daisy's experiences mirror Quintero's childhood memories, recounted through tender language and vivid sensory details. Recalling the motorcycle rides with her papi is an exercise in familial love, but also a way to honor a hometown and present the changes from gentrification. Although the topic is touched upon lightly, its complexity percolates and becomes much more vivid with multiple reads. The illustrations faithfully capture the merriment and love through careful details and a low-key color palette that alludes to warm memories being made and recollected. Peña makes felicitous use of his comics chops, incorporating speech balloons with Spanish phrases, onomatopoeia, and panels to convey movement. Quintero's writing and Peña's art coalesce most beautifully in the infectious look of joy on Daisy's face throughout. VERDICT A book that radiates sheer happiness without shying from reality. Highly recommended for all libraries.-Jessica Agudelo, New York Public Library © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780525553410 When Papi gets home from work, young Daisy grabs their motorcycle helmets, eager to zoom through the neighborhood before the sun goes down. Joyous digital and hand-painted watercolor illustrations capture the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and colors. The text's nuanced alliteration, its use of Spanglish, and the realistic linguistic mix in the illustrations (even the cat says both meow and miau) mark the specificity shaping Daisy's memory-making. Also available in Spanish. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780525553410 When Papi gets home from work in his gray truck, his daughter is ready for their ritual, a nightly motorcycle ride: "I run outside with both of our helmets." Together, they zip through their California city, passing the market, the church, and murals that show "our history-of citrus groves and the immigrants who worked them." The landscape is changing: Papi and his fellow carpenters are building new houses where the groves once stood, and the shaved ice shop has gone out of business. Quintero and Peña, the team behind Photographic: The Life of Graciela Iturbide, conjure up the ride's sights and sounds with sensory immediacy-the girl grasps her father's sawdusty shirt, sun-bleached pinks and oranges convey the lingering heat of evening, and stray cats run in front of the rumbling bike as neighborhood sounds reach the riders. Fresh graphic novel style art offers all the glory of a ride ("VROOOM"), and speech in balloons is a mix of Spanish and English alongside the English-only text. The love between the girl and her father is palpable, but her connection to her city (fleshed out in an author's note about Corona, Calif.) is at the story's heart. Ages 4-8. (May) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
A New Home
 Tania de Regil
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781536201932 PreS-Gr 1-This debut picture book features a boy in New York City who learns he will be relocating to Mexico City, and a girl in Mexico City considering her move to the Big Apple. Both children are unsure about their respective moves, as they will miss many things about their homes. The narrative is structured so that both children share the same thoughts, while the whimsical, detailed watercolor and pencil illustrations show each child enjoying, playing, and exploring their home cities. For instance, when the story reads, "But what if there is nowhere for me to play in my new city?" side-by-side, single-page spreads depict the boy ice-skating in Central Park and the girl riding her bike through Bosque de Chapultepec. Each child thinks, "I hope my life won't be so different in my new city," while the quiet, thoughtful illustrations demonstrate how simultaneously distinctive and similar their homes are. The endpapers offer fun facts about each city alongside compact replicas of the story's individual spreads. VERDICT A positive, reassuring recommendation for families coping with relocating to a new city. Recommended for school and public libraries.-Brianne -Colombo, Fairfield Free Public Library, NJ © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781536201932 An unnamed New York City boy and Mexico City girl consider what they like best about their present homes as they prepare to trade locales. Both live in apartment buildings, attend school, enjoy sporting events, play at the park, take in museums, and love the beach. Each hopes to find similar activities in their new cities. What makes this simple story work are de Regil's brightly colored mixed-media illustrations. Each spread features a single line of text (applicable to both children) with paired illustrations, one for each child. Cheering loudly for our team to win at the stadium features depictions of the boy and his dad at Yankee Stadium and the girl and her father watching soccer at Estadio Azteca. The sites in each metropolis are further delineated by consistent color schemes: the U.S. scenes feature reds and blues prominently, while the Mexican sites highlight greens and reds. Appended with information about each scene represented, this makes an upbeat and reassuring addition to books about moving.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2019 Booklist
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781536201932 A NYC boy moving to Mexico City and a girl in Cuidad de México who's relocating to NYC each describes (in English) what he or she will miss and expresses anxieties about the move. The ink, colored-pencil, watercolor, and gouache illustrations mainly place the boy's and girl's experiences on opposite sides of the spreads, allowing readers to appreciate their shared feelings while acknowledging the differences between the cities. Concurrently published in Spanish as Un nuevo hogar. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A boy from New York and a girl from Mexico City reminisce about the things they love in their hometowns prior to moving to each other's respective cities.After the characters are introduced, the narration unfolds in such a way that it represents the experiences of either child. As the story progresses and the images mirror each other in the spreads, the visual narrative depicts the similar experiences both families have without othering either child. De Regil, in her colored pencil, watercolor, and gouache illustrations, moves from the wide snapshots of either city into close experiences. As both stories merge and progress through the same events (attending sporting and cultural events, playing, traveling to their new homes), the narrative furthers the conversation on the similarities between the protagonists. The stories come together in a sweet moment when they cross paths at the airport, hopeful for the possibilities of different adventures in their new homes. De Regil doesn't shy away from the problems both countries and cultures experience, such as homelessness and wealth inequality, yet does not place blame. The backmatter provides information on both the landmarks the children visitsuch as Lincoln Center, Palacio de Bellas Artes, and the Museo Nacional de Antropologaand the cultures and issues that surround them. The boy presents white, and the girl has brown skin.A heartwarming story that depicts the anxiety of moving and leaving the familiarity of one's own culture behind. (Picture book. 3-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Nyas Long Walk: A Step at a Time.
Book Jacket   Linda Sue Park
2020 (Younger Readers)
One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller
Book Jacket   Kate Read
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781682631317 Mixed media, collage, and paintings illustrate the tale of a sly and very hungry fox who's scouting out his next meal. The conceptual counting book takes readers from 1 to 10, building toward the anticipated end only to offer a surprise. Each of the numbers has a double-page spread with a brightly colored number placed over a short description: One famished fox is accompanied by an picture of a red fox curled into a circle, looking off the page seemingly thinking about what to eat. He decides on three hapless hens for his dinner, but things don't go as expected, and at the story's conclusion, he becomes one frightened fox. The large pictures are delightful the fox's coat and the hens' feathers are collages of many colors and textures and offer humor as well as great technique. Both white and black backdrops show off the vivid, clear colors, and the featured numbers appear in various quadrants on the pages. Teamwork wins the day, and youngsters will cheer on the ultimately fearless fowl.--Maryann Owen Copyright 2019 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A hungry, sneaky fox silently approaches a henhouse and gets the surprise of its life.A farmyard serves as the setting for a counting book, with each numberone per double-page spreaddepicting how a ruddy, crimson fox with a long, flowing tail closes in on its prey. "1 / One famished fox." The fox curls on recto, pupils directed at the page turn. "2 / Two sly eyes." The fox's face dominates the verso, eyes focused on a single feather on recto. "3 / Three plump hens." The fearsome action builds and darkens as the fox's proximity increases until it is inside. "8 / Eight beady eyes" presents the shadowy outlines of three large hens with white worrying eyes looking at the fox's head, also shadowed, with white menacing eyes and sharp fangs. "9 / Nine flying feathers // 10 / Ten sharp teeth" gives the impression of a fatal conclusion. But turn the page, and amid the scurry and scuffle of feathers flying and hens running, strength in numbers prevails. "100 / One hundred angry hens" startle and chase away "1one frightened fox." In a manner reminiscent of Pat Hutchins' Rosie's Walk (1967), the intrigue and story arc are communicated visually while the counting progresses. Lovely, potent, brightly colored illustrations in a combination of textured collage and paint against white space transition to a dark, moonlit backdrop. Little ones will eagerly count in subsequent readings as they also learn new descriptive vocabulary and cheer for the brave hens.A classic scenario flips the script in this engrossing adventure. (Picture book. 3-5) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781682631317 PreS-K—This stunning "counting book thriller" features a hungry fox and tasty hens. Each number appears on a spread. For example, the words "1 famished fox" appears opposite a brilliantly colored fox curled in on itself, eyes peering off the page toward an as yet unrevealed prize. The count continues as the fox slinks forward, obviously lurking behind "3 plump hens" heading toward their hen house. The fox, its "4 padding paws" shown in the top half of a spread, follows. With "6 silent steps" it seems to engulf the hen house, its exaggeratedly long tail curled in the foreground. It knocks, and a page turn reveals the googily eyes of the three hens and their predator, whose sharp teeth flash in the dark interior. Feathers fly, the fox opens its wide mouth, and all seems lost until page turns provide welcome relief. Not three, but 100 "angry hens" chase the fox right back to being "1." Collage and paint in the mixed media illustrations create the various red-orange-gold hues of the fox's dazzling coat. White backgrounds give way to dark ones as the suspense builds. A striking double bleed depicts multicolored hens, their pursuit continuing onto the next page, where the fox appears as a tiny horizontal blur. VERDICT Just the right amount of tension, delicious vocabulary such as "sly," "plump," "famished," and "snug," and alliterative phrases make this a first purchase for group and one-on-one sharing. Count on requests for many readings.—Marianne Saccardi, Children's Literature Consultant, Cambridge, MA
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781682631317 This clever “thriller” might sound like a familiar tale: hungry fox vs. unsuspecting hens. But Read’s playful twist on the story (akin to Pat Hutchins’s Rosie’s Walk) is also an amusing way to learn the numbers one through 10. It all begins with “one famished fox,” craftily curled with a roguish look on his face. A suspenseful tone is set as his “two sly eyes” spot “three plump hens” (comically wide-eyed and feasting on worms), and the fox hatches a devious plan, portrayed in dynamic collage illustrations that economically express layers of emotion and comedy against nighttime spreads. After the hunter’s “ten sharp teeth” make an appearance, things go sideways for the fox—and for the numerical order. This one wins for its subtle message of power in numbers. Ages 2–6. (Oct.)
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781682631317 As ‘one famished fox’ stalks ‘three plump hens,’ readers count from one to ten (plus one hundred at the end) in Read's pleasingly alliterative text. Opening spreads feature ample white space, accentuating the menace: the ‘two sly eyes’ spread shows the fox crouching on verso with a feather on recto. An inky black dominates as the tension builds (‘five snug eggs’; ‘six silent steps’); all ends well (unless you're the defeated fox). (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Paper Son: The Inspiring Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist.
 Julie Leung
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781524771874 In 1919, a boy and his father emigrate from China to the United States. There, the child is separated from his parent and “taken to a wooden house filled with strangers... Days turned to weeks. This new land was not what he had expected.” After he struggles to clear immigration with an assumed identity, the boy, eventually known as Tyrus Wong, makes his way as an artist, working his way through art school as a janitor before landing a job at Walt Disney Studios. His lush illustrations, influenced by the evocative spareness of Chinese art and calligraphy, became the signature look of Bambi, though Wong is credited “only as a background artist” for his contributions to the film. Sasaki’s appealing illustrations, which blend midcentury stylization with classical Chinese art, complement Leung’s sensitive and skillful telling of Wong’s chillingly timely story. An endnote offers additional details about Wong’s life and career. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781524771874 In 1919, a boy and his father emigrate from China to the United States. There, the child is separated from his parent and “taken to a wooden house filled with strangers... Days turned to weeks. This new land was not what he had expected.” After he struggles to clear immigration with an assumed identity, the boy, eventually known as Tyrus Wong, makes his way as an artist, working his way through art school as a janitor before landing a job at Walt Disney Studios. His lush illustrations, influenced by the evocative spareness of Chinese art and calligraphy, became the signature look of Bambi, though Wong is credited “only as a background artist” for his contributions to the film. Sasaki’s appealing illustrations, which blend midcentury stylization with classical Chinese art, complement Leung’s sensitive and skillful telling of Wong’s chillingly timely story. An endnote offers additional details about Wong’s life and career. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. As the boat sailed from China to America, Wong memorized the minutiae of another boy's life.In 1919, the Chinese Exclusion Act allowed only high-status immigrants into the U.S. So 9-year-old Wong became a "paper son," taking on the identity of a merchant's son. Luckily, Wong passed the grueling immigration interview. After art school, bored by the tedium of "in-betweener" work at Disney Studios, Wong saw his chance to prove himself when Walt Disney announced his next movie, Bambi. Drawing on Felix Salten's novel, his own personal experiences, and his training in both Eastern and Western artistic styles, Wong created lush, impressionistic landscapes inspiring the look of the entire movie. Unfortunately, Wong's work was largely unrecognized; however, he never stopped making art, exploring many media. Digital illustrations emphasize precise details and shape repetition, creating a geometric counterpoint to organic washes of color and loose, impressionistic backgrounds inspired by Wong's work on Bambi. The brief narrative moves swiftly, lingering on just two key moments: Wong's immigration and the making of Bambi. The author's note provides more information about the Chinese Exclusion Act, the proliferation of paper sons and daughters, and additional details about and photos of Wong. Unfortunately, neither text nor backmatter share contextual information about the reasons for immigration, benefits and sacrifices of immigration, or the racial prejudice Wong faced both personally and professionally.A visually engaging introduction to a little-known yet influential American artist (Picture book/biography. 7-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781524771874 This picture-book biography focuses on two pivotal experiences in Wong's life--his 1920 emigration from China to the U.S. at age nine (the well-paced text describes Wong's journey as a ‘paper son,’ a child carrying forged immigration papers) and his work as an animator at Disney Studios (his ideas inspire the scenic design for the 1942 film Bambi). Sasaki's digital illustrations are striking. Back matter includes photos, an author's note offering more detail about Wong's life (he died in 2016 at age 106!), and information about the Chinese Exclusion Act. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781524771874 When he was nine years old, Tyrus Wong became a Paper Son, using a false name and pretending to be another boy in order to immigrate with his father to the U.S., or Gold Mountain. After months alone on Angel Island being questioned by immigration authorities, Wong was finally reunited with his dad, taking up a tough life as the new kid in a place where he didn't know the language. He went on to art school while working nights as a janitor and eventually became the art director of Disney's Bambi, though he never received the credit he deserved. Leung's reverent, poetic prose captures the subject's lifelong love of art and his perseverance through adversity. Sasaki's lush renderings are reminiscent of the animator's iconic style, heavily influenced by his Chinese heritage. Young readers and aspiring artists will pore over the stunning digital art, which presents an ink-and-watercolor style. The entire collaboration highlights the many contributions immigrants have made to our country and its culture, making this a lovely work for all shelves, displays centering artists, units on immigration, or showcases during Asian American History Month. Notes from author and artist, in addition to photos of Wong and his family, add further context and value to this gorgeous picture-book biography about an unsung hero of animation and Chinese American history.--Shelley M. Diaz Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781524771874 PreS-Gr 3—From humble origins as a nine-year-old Chinese immigrant with false papers, Tyrus Wong challenged adversity to become a professional artist. Celebrated as the man behind the design for Disney's Bambi, Wong worked for other film studios as well. Leung's smooth exposition emphasizes the difficulties facing young Wong Geng Yeo, who traveled in 1921 under the identity of Look Tai Yow, a merchant's son, in order to evade the restrictions of the Chinese Exclusion Act. Days of practice on the long voyage allowed him to pass his immigration interview and be released to join his father, but only after an extended detention on Angel Island. Wong finished high school and art school, but continued to face discrimination as a Disney employee. Sasaki's digital illustrations portray him as the single non-white man among a group of Disney animators drawing the repetitive "in between" frames of movies. The art often reflects the style of Chinese watercolor and ink paintings. One notable spread shows the artist working as a janitor, swirling his mop trails to paint a running horse on a tile floor. Other images are stylized but recognizable and appropriate to the mood and the period. The helpful back matter includes author and illustrator notes and photos from the Wong family albums, including his immigration card. The endpapers feature the kites Wong designed and flew on the beach near his California home. VERDICT A well-told story that spotlights the too-often unrecognized talent and contributions of America's immigrants.—Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MD
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre
 Anika Aldamuy Denise
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062748683 K-Gr 3-A picture book biography of one of the most significant and inspiring figures in library history. Pura Belpré, the first Puerto Rican librarian in New York City, initially arrived in Manhattan to attend her sister's wedding. Intrigued perhaps by the "hustle and bustle" of this "new island," she decided to stay, finding temporary work as a seamstress. Belpré truly found her calling when she took a position as a bilingual assistant (the text notes that was she was, in fact, trilingual) at a neighborhood library, and went on to transform library services through culturally diverse storytelling, published books, and targeted outreach. Denise sprinkles her lyrical verse with Spanish, and emphasizes Belpré's love of stories, plucking the title of the book from her desire "to be like Johnny Appleseed...plant my story seeds across the land." Escobar's warm illustrations enliven the subject and carry the motif by depicting Belpré in impeccably stylish outfits and accessories detailed with floral patterns. Because of the composition style, readers are given only brief depictions of significant moments in Belpré's personal and professional life, but Denise provides a detailed author's note, summarizing Belpré's lasting impact, and includes a great amount of back matter. VERDICT An appealing tribute and successful remedy to the lack of titles about the groundbreaking librarian. This book pairs nicely with Lucia Gonzalez's The -Storyteller's Candle, and is a must-have for all libraries.-Jessica Agudelo, New York Public Library © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780062748683 Readers may know Pura BelprAc as the name of an award given to books about the Latin American cultural experience. But who was BelprAc herself? Denise (Starring Carmen!) celebrates the first Latina New York City librarian, born in 1899, who seeds the folktales of her native Puerto Rico in her new home. As a library assistant, BelprAc makes puppets to enhance her storytelling performances, which introduce the elegant cockroach Martina, the dashing mouse PAcrez, and other beloved characters from Puerto Rican folklore, then goes on to publish the tales for wider distribution. Colombian illustrator Escobar represents the biography's central image of "planting" story seeds in detailed, retro-style spreads with flowers that float around Belpre as she weaves her tales ("Her eyes dance! Her voice sings!"). Sepia tones contribute a feeling of age and a sense of warmth. Denise plants an idea of her own-that telling stories is a crucial activity for keeping culture alive. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780062748683 Denise and Escobar pay tribute to the legacy of librarian Pura Belpré in this vibrant picture-book biography. Adults familiar with Belpré's story will immediately compare this book to The Storyteller's Candle (2008), by Lucía González, but this version adds a contemporary feel through the brilliantly detailed, brightly colored, whimsical illustrations and smoothly integrated linguistic code-switching. Here readers watch as Pura arrives in New York in 1921, just for a visit, filled with the stories her abuela told her in Puerto Rico. She stays, however, and finds work as a seamstress but yearns to do something else. As luck would have it, her chance comes when the public library needs a bilingual assistant. Thus begins Pura Belpré's career as the storyteller with puppets and a candle, around whose feet children sat listening to stories of Puerto Rico, including ones Pura writes herself. Planting Stories is a glossy immigration tale of dreams coming true, and the lyrical language lends itself to being read aloud.--Amina Chaudhri Copyright 2018 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A warm introduction to Pura Belpr, the first Puerto Rican librarian in the New York Public Library.In 1921, Belpr left her island home of Puerto Rico for New York City. There, she started work as a bilingual assistant in the public library. But where were the stories of her native land? "How lucky for the library that Pura has story seeds ready to plant and grow." Eventually, not only did Belpr hold a popular bilingual story program, but also, finding there were no books available for children in Spanish, she wrote them. Traveling "from branch to branch, classroom to classroom, to churches and community centers," Belpr planted "her story seeds in the hearts and minds of children new to this island who wish to remember la lengua y los colores of home." Belpr's story is told in rhythmic language with a good dose of (unitalicized) Spanish sprinkled throughout. Escobar's vibrant illustrations are filled with details that help bring to life the story of this remarkable librarian. Belpr is portrayed with light brown skin. A closing note explains that today, the American Library Association honors her by presenting an annual award that bears her name to a Latinx writer and illustrator whose works celebrate the Latino cultural experience. Read together with The Storyteller's Candle / La velita de los cuentos, by Luca Gonzlez and illustrated by Lulu Delacre (2008).In Belpr, children will find an affirmation of the importance of seeing their own culture in books. (bibliography, further reading) (Picture book/biography. 4-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780062748683 As a bilingual assistant at Nueva York's public library in 1921, Pura Belpri retells the folk stories of her native Puerto Rico at storytimes and eventually writes them down for publication. Descriptive language moves between English and Spanish seamlessly. Both text and expressive, warm illustrations carry the metaphor of planting seeds, so that readers see the seeds of Belpri's stories bloom as the biographical details unfold. Also available in Spanish. Reading list. Bib. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Pokko and the Drum
Book Jacket   Matthew Forsythe
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781481480390 The biggest mistake Pokko's parents ever made was giving her a drum," begins this story about a young frog musician's path to creative fulfillment, benevolent (mostly) leadership, and satisfying self-expression. After that attention-grabbing opening line, the well-paced text builds anticipatory humor by backing up to describe earlier gifts Pokko's parents regretted: a slingshot, a llama, and a balloon, all shown in uncluttered spreads featuring the game but poker-faced Pokko. Then comes the drum: Pokko's face lights up and she reaches toward her instrument, her now-constant companion. She practices inside the house; her parents send her out. She goes to the forest, where her playing attracts a banjo-strumming raccoon, a trumpet-blowing rabbit, and more; soon she's trailed by a parade of like-minded, music-making creatures (minus the rabbit, who gets eaten by a wolf: "No more eating band members or you're out of the band," deadpans Pokko). There are lots of visual nods and references in Forsythe's textured, painterly watercolor, gouache, and colored-pencil illustrations--Rousseau, Sendak, Lobel, Ungerer, Keats, Klassen--but, like his amphibian protagonist, this idiosyncratic author/illustrator/animator (The Brilliant Deep, rev. 7/18; Warning: Do Not Open This Book!; the Adventure Time television series) marches to his own beat. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781481480390 PreS-Gr 1—An omniscient narrator explains the story's central problem on the first page: "The biggest mistake Pokko's parents ever made was giving her a drum." It was, apparently, not an isolated error in judgment by these amphibians. Readers observe the young frog positioning herself in a slingshot, riding a llama in the living room, borne aloft by a balloon. The apron-wearing father keeps lamenting their latest purchase to his constantly reading wife, who can't hear anything due to the din. Forsythe's watercolor, gouache, and colored pencil compositions employ a warm palette of browns, oranges, reds, yellows, and greens. Polka-dot, patchwork, and striped patterns against cream-colored backgrounds create a cozy environment. When her father encourages drumming outside their homey mushroom, Pokko enters a lush forest with Matisse-like flora—but soon a reddish-yellow light permeates the page, and the eerie quiet causes her to start tapping "just to keep herself company." She is soon followed by a banjo-playing raccoon, a trumpet-wielding rabbit, a host of other instrumentalists, and an appreciative audience. Children may identify some characters from rhymes and folk tales. In addition to being a talented musician (something the father comes to recognize), the protagonist also proves to be an effective band leader. Faced with unsavory behavior from a wolf, she confronts him and earns a sincere apology; the show goes on. VERDICT Creative design and painterly scenes portray a heroine who takes risks and follows her heart into experiences that bring a little danger, but also joy and satisfaction.—Wendy Lukehart, District of Columbia Public Library
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Pokko's parents give her a drumbiggest mistake everand she makes a thoroughgoing racket.Her father suggests taking her drum outside. "But don't make too much noise. We're just a little frog family that lives in a mushroom, and we don't like drawing attention to ourselves." Pokko sets off quietly into the too-quiet forest. She taps her drum "just to keep herself company." When a banjo-playing raccoon follows her, she plays louder. A trumpet-playing rabbit's next, then a wolf, ostensibly there for the music. In a plot twist evocative of Jon Klassen, the wolf eats the rabbit, earning Pokko's stern rebuke: "No more eating band members or you're out of the band." Soon, many animalssome making music, others enjoying itare following Pokko. When her father calls her to dinner, he hears faint music, growing louder. The crowds sweep in, carrying off Pokko's parents. (Comically, her mother's still engrossed in the book she's been reading throughout.) Her father thinks he spies Pokko down in front. "And you know what?I think she's pretty good!" Pokko's a self-possessed marvel, brave enough to walk alone, face down a wolf, and lead a band. Forsythe's smudgily glowing paintings alternate Rousseau-esque forest forms with cozy interiors; stripes and harlequin diamonds decorate clothing.Celebrating both community and individuality, this droll, funny offering will tickle kids and adults alike. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781481480390 “The biggest mistake Pokko’s parents ever made was giving her a drum,” begins this dark, hilarious tale by Forsythe (The Brilliant Deep). As Pokko marches across the colorful bed the frog family shares, her sticks poised for big blows, her father expresses deep misgivings. The next day, he prevails upon her to head outside—“We’re just a little frog family that lives in a mushroom, and we don’t like drawing attention to ourselves”— and she does, venturing into the surrounding woods alone. After Pokko resists the forest’s silence, “tapping on her drum,” a banjo-playing raccoon falls in behind her; as Pokko plays louder, a rabbit with a trumpet appears. An eager wolf joins, too, with less-than-musical results (“No more eating band members or you’re out of the band,” Pokko orders). As the drummer plays, the parade grows, and pretty soon, it’s a throng, joined even by her noise-averse dad. Forsythe’s tapestrylike spreads give the tense, funny sequences a lush elegance marked by amusing visual asides, painterly interiors, and a triumphant parade. In embracing one’s own beat, Pokko discovers, extraordinary things can happen—surprising things, upsetting things, and glorious things, too. Ages 4–8. Agent: Judith Hansen, Hansen Literary. (Oct.)
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781481480390 The frog family lives a quiet, out-of-the-way existence in a peaceful forest peaceful, that is, until they present their daughter, Pokko, with a drum. It's a big mistake, they realize even bigger than their previous gifts of a slingshot and llama. We don't like drawing attention to ourselves, her father says, and Pokko agrees to take her drum-banging out into the woods, giving her patient parents some peace. As she walks about, drumming, different forest critters join her, their own instruments in tow, and form a boisterous musical parade. In one dicey moment, a wolf joins the throng. No more eating band members or you're out of the band, Pokko admonishes the apologetic predator. The joyful cacophony resumes, eventually convincing even her quiet parents that perhaps the drum wasn't such a mistake after all. Forsythe's coy, playful writing is a wonder on its own, but the lush watercolor, gouache, and colored-pencil illustrations beautifully elevate the tale, creating a warm and wonderful world that any woodland creature (or small child) would long to inhabit. There is something inspirational about Pokko's determined drumming and steadfast leadership, subtly providing a delightful lesson on the importance of quite literally marching to the beat of your own drum. Sometimes making noise is the only way to be heard.--Emily Graham Copyright 2010 Booklist
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2020 (Younger Readers)
The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family
Book Jacket   Ibtihaj Muhammad
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A young girl admires her older sister's "first-day hijab" in this team effort by hijabi Olympian Muhammad (Proud, 2018) and YA novelist Ali (Love From A to Z, 2019).Mama takes Asiyah and Faizah to the hijab shop so that Asiyah can pick out her "first-day hijab." Mama likes pink, but Asiyah picks out "the brightest blue." Faizah has a new backpack and light-up shoes for the first day of school, but when Asiyah walks out in her blue hijab, "It's the most beautiful first day of school ever. / I'm walking with a princess." Once they arrive at school, the reactions of other children alternate with spreads depicting Faizah's thoughts about Asiyah's hijab, which are paired with Mama's words. A girl whispers, asking Faizah about the hijab. But "Asiyah's hijab isn't a whisper"; according to Mama, "It means being strong." These spreads show Aly's close-up illustrations of a smiling Asiyah, with her blue hijab extending into an image of "the sky on a sunny day" or "the ocean waving to the sky." Faizah triumphs over the misunderstandings and bullying she witnesses, her pride in her sister still intact. This sensitive representation of family relationships that provide a loving coat of armor against the world's difficulties is memorable and inspiring. Bullies are depicted as faceless shadows, emphasizing the importance of discounting what they say. Faizah's family is black; the other schoolchildren are multiracial.Triumphant and true. (Picture book. 4-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316519007 K-Gr 4—Faizah is excited for her first day of school but even more excited for her older sister, Asiya. Asiya is starting sixth grade with her brand-new blue hijab. As Faizah walks to the school in her new light-up shoes and backpack, she admires her sister who looks like a princess in her blue head scarf. At school, some students celebrate with her, some are ambivalent, and some faceless, nameless characters taunt her. Their mother has prepared the girls with wise words. When the kids in the school bully Asiya, she remembers her mother's advice to not carry hurtful words as "they are not yours to keep. They belong only to those who said them." The illustration and the colors are just as powerful as words conveying the passionate message of how to be proud of one's culture, individuality, and religion and how to stay strong and keep one's faith. This is an empowering book for young readers who can see themselves in Asiya or know someone like her. The touching and celebratory illustrations complement the quiet strength of Asiya as she steps into a beautiful and celebrated coming-of-age rite. VERDICT This excellent story about identity, visibility, and confidence, touches on rites of passage, bonds between sisters, and bullying and is unapologetic in tackling misconceptions and demanding equality.—Noureen Qadir-Jafar, Syosset Library, NY
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316519007 The first day of school is also the first day of hijab for little Faizah's sixth-grade sister, Asiya, who selects a beautiful shade of blue to wear. Faizah sees her sister as a princess, but not everyone shares her perspective. What's that on your sister's head? asks a classmate. At recess, someone shouts, I'm going to pull that tablecloth off your head! These moments teach Faizah to represent her culture with confidence: her whispered answers grow louder; she and her sister walk away from the bully. Muhammad and Ali's poetic prose has a reminiscent quality, with short sentences setting a thoughtful rhythm ( Mama holds out the pink. Mama loves pink. But Asiya shakes her head. I know why. Behind the counter is the brightest blue ) that allows the flourishes to shine ( The color of the ocean, if you squint your eyes and pretend there's no line between the water and the sky ). Aly's ink-wash-and-pencil illustrations settle and soar along with the language, swapping seamlessly between the concrete setting and metaphoric reflections on Asiya's hijab, the scarf's blue tail flowing out into curls of ocean or sky. This story, as both window and mirror, inevitably educates, but more important, it encourages pride in and respect for hijab through a tale of two sisters, their bond strengthened by faith.--Ronny Khuri Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316519007 It’s the first day of school, and Faizah’s older sister Asiya, a sixth grader, has started wearing hijab in a brilliant, proud shade of blue. It’s “like the sky on a sunny day... special and regular” and reminds Faizah of “the ocean waving to the sky... always there, strong and friendly.” When a playground bully, portrayed by Aly (the Unicorn Rescue Society series) as a smudgy silhouette, taunts Asiya (“I’m going to pull that tablecloth off your head!”), Faizah fumes, glaring at the child and looking for “whispers, laughs, and shouts.” But when she sees how Asiya and her diverse friends, who share an easygoing confidence, dismiss the bully and get on with their fun, her sense of what’s “regular” is both restored and expanded. Hijabi U.S. Olympian Muhammad and YA author Ali (Love from A to Z) have created a lovely blend of emotional lyricism and closely observed everyday life. And Aly’s digitally enhanced ink and pencil scenes alternate between dreamy meditations of strength and empowerment, and snapshots of two sisters who are very much in the world—and mean the world to each other. Ages 4–8. Authors’ agents: Greg Ferguson, Full Fathom Five (for Muhammad) and John Cusick, Folio Jr. (for Ali). Illustrator’s agent: Robbin Brosterman, the Bright Agency. (Oct.)
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Queen of Physics: How Wu Chien Shiung Helped Unlock the Secrets of the Atom
 Teresa Robeson
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781454932208 To have a girl child in China at the turn of the last century was not considered fortunate for most families. But the Wu family was not like most, and Chien Shiung was not only encouraged to go to school (her parents were educators), she was told she could be whatever she wanted. That support was taken to heart, and Robeson details in short but informative bites of text how the young woman extended her education, moving ever further from home and finally to the U.S., where she would delve deeply into her passion, the study of atoms. Writing biographies about people from different times and cultures can have challenges, but trying to explain physics especially Wu's specialization, beta decay in a picture-book biography certainly ups the ante. Robeson surmounts these almost effortlessly, getting to the heart of Wu's professional life and simply detailing her many accomplishments, as well as informing her audience how Wu was slighted when it came to awards like the Nobel Prize, with male colleagues taking the honors. The text's accessibility is supported and enhanced by Huang's collage-style artwork that captures Wu's dedication and willingness to take on leadership roles both in the scientific community and in leading political protests in China. Wu Chien Shiung's story is remarkable and so is the way this book does it justice. A short biography and a dictionary of physics terms is appended.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781454932208 Robeson details the life of Wu Chien Shiung, a female physicist of the mid-20th century who completed important, often unrecognized work in beta decay. Fortunate to have parents who started a girls’ school in China, Wu was educated like her brothers, attended university, and led student protests to “resist Japanese invaders” just before WWII. After moving to the U.S., she investigates parity and beta decay in California and New York, often facing prejudice, and is passed over for the Nobel Prize as her male colleagues receive accolades. All the while, she perseveres, remembering her Baba’s words: “Just put your head down and/ keep walking forward.” Huang’s stylized illustrations feature chalkboards full of equations and backdrops with swirling nuclear symbols. A list of Wu’s “firsts” (first woman instructor at Princeton, for example) and a glossary of nuclear terms close this bittersweet biography of a brilliant woman. Ages 5–up. (Oct.)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Societal limits cannot extinguish talent.When Wu Chien Shiung is born, her parents worry, "What would become of her?" Due to sexist mores, "in those days, girls were not sent to school." But Chien Shiung was lucky, as before she was born both parents had opened a school for girls, encouraging families in their town of Liuhe to educate their daughters. "Soon enough, Chien Shiung [has] learned everything she could from her parents' school," leaving for the city of Suzhou, miles away from home and family. There she finds her passions for physics, reading (or "self-learning"), and politics. Her extraordinary talent takes her to bigger opportunities and further away from home. Eventually she ends up at Columbia University in New York. Because of her expertise in beta decay, three groups of scientists enlist her help with their research. From her work, all three groups win the Nobel Prize, but she is overlooked every single time. And "because she [is] a woman, because she [is] Asian," Chien Shiung is passed over for jobs. Yet her advocacy and sheer talent cannot be ignored for much longer. Huang utilizes spirited mixed-media images with a neutral palette to illuminate Shiung's journey. Robeson is seemingly engrossed in the details, giving the longer-than-usual text the feel of a recitation of facts.The fascinating life of the subject compensates for a somewhat dry and lengthy narration. (Picture book/biography. 6-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Saturday.
 Oge Mora
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780316431279 Ava’s mother works six days a week, so Saturday, their only day together, “was the day they cherished.” Despite a practiced plan and tickets to a “one-night-only puppet show,” though, this one isn’t going particularly well. The library’s story time is canceled, a car’s splash ruins their salon ’dos, and the park is too noisy and crowded to be peaceful. But they face each setback the same way: “They paused, closed their eyes, and—whew!—let out a deep breath,” then Ava’s mother reassures her that “today will be special. Today will be splendid. Today is SATURDAY!” Carefully paced repetition structures the family’s experiences, and brilliantly colored collages by Mora (Thank You, Omu!) convey their trip through the city with elegant energy; their figures dance across the pages, and sometimes the words do, too. Scenes at the family breakfast table, inside the salon, and at the riotously busy park are filled with detail that rewards second looks. When they encounter the worst disaster of all—this one is Ava’s mother’s fault—it’s Ava’s turn to reassure her mom, and she finds special words to do it. The family handles the stress of dashed expectations in a way that acknowledges disappointment while conveying the buoyancy of resilience and the joy of their bond. And a delightful coda may inspire readers to share the inventive way they salvage their day. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Oct.)
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780316431279 PreS-Gr 2—In her second picture book, Caldecott honoree Mora (Thank You, Omu!) continues to delight and impress with her unique collage style and storytelling tone. In this story, Ava cherishes the one day each week she gets to spend with her working mother. They fill every Saturday with fun activities, until one day everything goes wrong. Storytime at the library is cancelled, their new hairdos get wet, and the park is too crowded. All the while, Ava's mom encourages her, and repeats a mantra that their Saturday will still be special and splendid. But when she forgets their tickets to a special puppet show, it is Ava who reassures her mom that their day isn't ruined, because they spent it together. The story is endearing, and accurately portrays the busy weekends of many families with working parents. Mora's repeated phrases and onomatopoeia ("Zoom! Off they went") lend themselves enjoyably to being read out loud. Her signature collage work using painted paper, patterned paper, and book clippings, is impeccable. Though appearing simple, these are incredibly precise scenes, with no piece of paper out of place. The pages contains mostly blue and green backgrounds, and Ava stands out with her warm brown skin and bright pink tank top. VERDICT A story that weaves mindfulness, appreciation of family time, and the lesson that parents are human, into a gorgeously produced package. Perfection.—Clara Hendricks, Cambridge Public Library, MA
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Caldecott Honoree Mora (Thank You, Omu!, 2018) returns in this sophomore offering about a mother and daughter's special Saturday.Young protagonist Ava and her mother love their Saturdays together. Ava's mother works, "Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday," so Saturday is their special day. The pairs' smiles and Ava's outflung hands convey excitement, while realistic details such as Ava's mother's sleep scarf add authenticity. In vignettes, Mora's collage art chronicles some of their past adventures and shows them performing various actions in a circle of repeated figures (clearly intended to convey the passage of time), preparing for their day. Discerning readers may spy something left behind as they head out. Things start to go awry almost immediately, but Ava's mother is full of reassurances, and they have a strategy for dealing with disappointment: pause, close their eyes, breathe deep, and move on. But after the biggest disappointment comes at the end of a daylong string of them, it's Ava who brings comfort to her mother in a touching moment that may bring tears to readers' eyes. Though not a preachy book, it offers lessons that are both beautiful and useful. Ava and her mother are black, with skin of different hues of browns, while other characters are an array of skin tones. How wonderful: a book with both racial diversity and class diversity that feels authentic.Special and splendid. (Picture book. 4-9) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780316431279 Saturdays are special. Ava's mother works every other day, but on her only day off, mom and daughter do all sorts of fun things go to story hour, get their hair done, lounge in the park and this Saturday is extra special because they have tickets for a one-night-only puppet show. But this Saturday gets off to a bad start and rolls downhill: the story hour is cancelled; their freshly done hair gets drenched by a puddle as a car speeds by; and worst of all, they arrive at the puppet show without their tickets. Ava's mom is heartbroken, but the little girl tells her not to worry: all Saturdays, even this one, are special "because I spend them with you." The simple yet heartfelt story tugs at the emotions, but it's the paper collage artwork that really packs a punch. Created with acrylic paints, china markers, patterned paper, and print clippings, the bright illustrations are inventively conceived and full of motion just the right vehicle for bringing this Black mother-daughter duo to vibrant life. Readers will get a real sense of their bond, which is defined by their love, not their circumstances. A sweet ending ties a bow on the story.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2019 Booklist
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Sing a Song: How Lift Every Voice and Sing Inspired Generations
Book Jacket   Kelly Starling Lyons
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780525516095 In 1900, a girl learned a hymn written by her school principal, James Weldon Johnson, and she sang it as part of a 500-member choir: Lift Every Voice and Sing. She later sang it to her husband as they moved from Florida to Pennsylvania, since it was a part of her she wanted to pass on. Later, she shared it with her son through the years. Growing up, he sang it in choirs, when facing discrimination as a soldier returning from WWII, and after becoming a father. Tracing the history of Black Americans since 1900 through five generations of one family, this creative book also connects events and cultural shifts with particular lines in the song, underscoring their relevance during certain times, ending with the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. With clarity and warmth, the illustrations sensitively capture the changing characters, emotions, and eras as time passes. This well-structured, original story will resonate most intensely with readers and listeners who are familiar with this stirring hymn, but others will sense its power as well. Dovetailing nicely with the books that introduce the song itself, this moving picture book celebrates it as a symbol of faith, brilliance, resistance, and resilience. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780525516095 Through the lens of a family handing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” down through several generations, Lyons (Hope’s Gift) delivers the history of a song that has inspired generations of African-Americans to persist and resist in the face of racism and systemic oppression. The creators start with the song’s beginnings in 1900, when it was penned by siblings James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamund Johnson to commemorate President Lincoln’s birthday. In vibrant, realistic illustrations and painstaking facial detail, Mallett portrays a girl practicing, then singing—“back straight, head high,/ heart and mouth open”—at the song’s first choir performance before eventually teaching it to her son (“It was a part of her she wanted to pass on”). Bold colors lend emotion to scenes of hope and adversity as one child becomes a WWII veteran facing discrimination and subsequent generations witness other moments in history: the killing of Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights protests, and, in 2016, the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. All the while, each generation passes the lyrics along, and a final page urges readers to “keep singing... keep on keeping on.” A heartfelt history of a historic anthem. Ages 5–8. (Aug.)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. "Before you were born, a girl learned a song"so begins the story of how "Lift Every Voice" takes root in a young African American girl's heart and becomes a source of fortitude for her and her descendants, who continue learning, singing, and passing the song along. Readers learn that the hymn was written by the fictional protagonist's principal, James Weldon Johnson, and his brother, John Rosamond Johnson, to be sung during a celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday in 1900. As she grows and passes the song down through generations, significant events in the lives of African Americans unspool, including the Great Migration and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and culminating with the ringing of "the freedom bell" at the opening ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Lyons writes with rhythmic warmth, weaving the lyrics into her story. Full of faith and hope, they were the foundation of the civil rights movement and continue to be a source of encouragement and pride. Mallett's artwork charmingly illumines the faces of the singers in the book, revealing their passion and often joy in singing what's become cherished as the African American national anthem. An author's note reveals that the story spread after Johnson's students took it for their own and shared it.A beautiful celebration of a song that continues to give life to African Americans. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780525516095 In 1900, a girl learned a hymn written by her school principal, James Weldon Johnson, and she sang it as part of a 500-member choir: Lift Every Voice and Sing. She later sang it to her husband as they moved from Florida to Pennsylvania, since it was a part of her she wanted to pass on. Later, she shared it with her son through the years. Growing up, he sang it in choirs, when facing discrimination as a soldier returning from WWII, and after becoming a father. Tracing the history of Black Americans since 1900 through five generations of one family, this creative book also connects events and cultural shifts with particular lines in the song, underscoring their relevance during certain times, ending with the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. With clarity and warmth, the illustrations sensitively capture the changing characters, emotions, and eras as time passes. This well-structured, original story will resonate most intensely with readers and listeners who are familiar with this stirring hymn, but others will sense its power as well. Dovetailing nicely with the books that introduce the song itself, this moving picture book celebrates it as a symbol of faith, brilliance, resistance, and resilience. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780525516095 Through the lens of a family handing “Lift Every Voice and Sing” down through several generations, Lyons (Hope’s Gift) delivers the history of a song that has inspired generations of African-Americans to persist and resist in the face of racism and systemic oppression. The creators start with the song’s beginnings in 1900, when it was penned by siblings James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamund Johnson to commemorate President Lincoln’s birthday. In vibrant, realistic illustrations and painstaking facial detail, Mallett portrays a girl practicing, then singing—“back straight, head high,/ heart and mouth open”—at the song’s first choir performance before eventually teaching it to her son (“It was a part of her she wanted to pass on”). Bold colors lend emotion to scenes of hope and adversity as one child becomes a WWII veteran facing discrimination and subsequent generations witness other moments in history: the killing of Martin Luther King Jr., civil rights protests, and, in 2016, the opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. All the while, each generation passes the lyrics along, and a final page urges readers to “keep singing... keep on keeping on.” A heartfelt history of a historic anthem. Ages 5–8. (Aug.)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. "Before you were born, a girl learned a song"so begins the story of how "Lift Every Voice" takes root in a young African American girl's heart and becomes a source of fortitude for her and her descendants, who continue learning, singing, and passing the song along. Readers learn that the hymn was written by the fictional protagonist's principal, James Weldon Johnson, and his brother, John Rosamond Johnson, to be sung during a celebration of Abraham Lincoln's birthday in 1900. As she grows and passes the song down through generations, significant events in the lives of African Americans unspool, including the Great Migration and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and culminating with the ringing of "the freedom bell" at the opening ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. Lyons writes with rhythmic warmth, weaving the lyrics into her story. Full of faith and hope, they were the foundation of the civil rights movement and continue to be a source of encouragement and pride. Mallett's artwork charmingly illumines the faces of the singers in the book, revealing their passion and often joy in singing what's become cherished as the African American national anthem. An author's note reveals that the story spread after Johnson's students took it for their own and shared it.A beautiful celebration of a song that continues to give life to African Americans. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Small in the City
Book Jacket   Sydney Smith
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781406388404 A boy feels small in a big city. He gets off a train, and the simple first-person narrative explains that People don't see you and loud sounds can scare you. As he makes his way through the town, he offers advice, which at first seems directed to the reader: alleys can be good shortcuts, if they're not too dark; vents can spew warming air; the church radiates music. But some of the comments seem odd: the fishmongers down the street . . . would probably give you a fish if you asked. Near the book's conclusion, the boy puts up a flyer about his lost cat. He hopes it will remember how nice home is, but also realizes that no matter what, I know you will be all right. The straightforward text is juxtaposed against stirring artwork whose drama is heightened by the swirling snowstorm that permeates the pages. The ink, watercolor, and gouache pictures have a unique, sometimes startling look as they divide into strips or fill the pages. They capture both the city's pace and its stark beauty, even on a raw winter's day. Smith's art has been award winning, but here he becomes author as well as illustrator. He does both titles proud in this stirring piece.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2010 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A child navigates the city's relentless sights and sounds.The child, light-skinned but with race and gender ambiguous under layers of winter outerwear, pulls the stop-request string inside the bus and trundles into the midtown maw. A savvy kid, but so small within the double-page spread of skyscrapers, commuters, stoplights, and construction. Text appears in the white space between buildings, "I know what it's like to be small in the city." Young readers will feel their hearts constrict, as they all know what it's like to confront a towering, intimidating world. Hand-drawn frames, presented in quadrants, contain both powerful close-ups and wider scenes (taxi taillights, crosswalks, chain fencing, the child's bobbing pom-pom) that mark time and distance. A page turn delivers full-page pictures of the looming city, with dizzying linework and detail. Cinematic scenes feel at once atmospheric and photorealistic. With snow accumulating and light dwindling, the narrator gives voice to the reader's concern: "People don't see you and loud sounds can scare you, and knowing what to do is hard sometimes." This incisive language distills the hardest part of childhood: the precarious hold small people have on their own agency. A brilliant narrative twist reveals itself at the end of this tender picture book, which stretches readers' concern painfully as the voice begins warning of dark alleys and dogs, and points to warm churches and free food.Extraordinary, emotional, and beautifully rendered. (Picture book. 6-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780823442614 An intrepid child on the move in the big city speaks directly to an unknown someone, dispensing advice and encouragement. With full-bleed spreads juxtaposed with ones featuring small vignettes, Smith expertly communicates the city's chaos and bustle with line, color, and scale. This emotionally resonant ode to the resilience of small creatures in a big, loud world is tender and timeless--and a masterful merging of art and text. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780823442614 In his solo debut, Smith (Town Is by the Sea) follows a bundled-up child walking in winter amid tall buildings, traffic, and telephone poles. “I know what it’s like to be small in the city,” the narration begins. As it continues, readers slowly realize that the child is addressing someone in particular. Snow starts to swirl, and the child begins to offer advice: watch out for big dogs; a dryer vent might be a good place for a nap (“you could curl up below it”). The winter wind whips, and snow swirls faster. The child bends over a knapsack for a pink sheet of paper; “LOST,” it reads, over a picture of a cat. (A look back reveals the posters affixed all over town.) “If you want,” the child says, in words readers now understand are directed at the lost feline, “you could just come back.” Smith’s understated portrait of longing for the return of a beloved family member takes readers on a quiet but powerful emotional journey, one whose intensity Smith tracks visually as the winter storm becomes a blizzard and the driving wind makes it nearly impossible to see—until, just as suddenly, it lifts. The story’s spotlight is not on the loss of the pet, or on its return, but on the state of suspension in between—a mixture of grief, resignation, and patient waiting—and the independent child narrator’s loving regard for the animal as an autonomous being. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780823442614 PreS-Gr 1—Wordless panels show someone's silhouette looking out of a foggy window. The page turns and perspective shifts to show a child riding the bus dressed for winter. The child disembarks and the next few pages are presented like snapshots, with snippets of city life—buildings, lights, crowds, and sidewalks—painted with dark ink lines that underscore the narrator's message about how overwhelming urban life can be. The child recommends avoiding a dark alley and a yard full of dogs, and points out some good hiding and climbing spots. Casual readers may be alarmed when the child recommends taking a nap beneath a snowy dryer vent, but there are clues about who the child is actually addressing. As the snow intensifies, the child trudges along putting up lost cat posters, seeming smaller and lonelier as the book progresses. The story culminates in a desolate scene where the child, alone in a gray blizzard, plaintively calls, "If you want, you could just come back," followed by images of footsteps in the snow, a city skyline, and a woman waiting in the snow. They embrace, and readers know that the child is safe and loved. "But I know you." The child comforts, "You will be all right." The final page shows a line of fresh cat prints in the snow, reassuring readers that all is well. VERDICT The use of line, reflection, and perspective masterfully evoke a bustling gray city, making this thoughtful book an artful choice for large collections.—Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN
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2020 (Younger Readers)
A Stone Sat Still
 Brendan Wenzel
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781452173184 K-Gr 4—Wenzel scores another hit with this engaging and though-provoking companion to They All Saw a Cat. "A stone sat still/with the water, grass, and dirt/and it was as it was/where it was in the world." Lyrical text, stunning mixed-media artwork, and cleverly shifting perspectives reveal how this object is at once static and ever-changing, predictable yet filled with possibility, seemingly eternal yet somehow vulnerable. The stone is "dark" when swathed in shadow, and "bright" when bathed in moonlight. It's "loud" when a seagull uses it to break apart a clam, and "quiet" when a snake sits curled atop; "rough" (compared to a slug) and "smooth" (compared to a porcupine); a "pebble" to a moose, and a "hill" to a tiny insect. As various animals discover, the stone is "a danger," "a haven,' "a story," "a stage," and so much more. Detail-packed illustrations work closely with the text to eloquently convey this sedentary stone's role in its surrounding biome. Observant readers will notice that the water levels surrounding the stone are rising, which becomes first "an island," then "a wave," then "a memory" as it disappears beneath the surface, continuing to sit "still in the world" surrounded by seaweed and sea creatures. VERDICT Showcasing at-a-glimpse activities of an array of animals, this book offers small stories to pore over as well as bigger ideas to ponder, including the influence of viewpoint, the relationship between wildlife and habitat, the impact of environmental issues, and the vagaries of time.—Joy Fleishhacker, Pikes Peak Library District, Colorado Springs
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781452173184 What at first may seem like a retread of 2016's Caldecott Honor Book They All Saw a Cat takes the beautifully proven concept and elevates it to awe-inspiring heights as, by broadening the scope yet still focusing on the little moments it contemplates infinity. Wenzel's text sets a steady beat: A stone sat still / with the water, grass, and dirt / and it was as it was / where it was in the world. Each spread observes the same small boulder, impressionistically depicted through a specific animal's perspective. Wenzel's familiar mixed-media style is sometimes placid and picturesque; other times, it's active and intense; but it always holds to the purposes of poetry, tone, and science. Every image offers interaction, whether through interpretation of the animal's relationship to the stone or through revelation of the secrets hidden within the layered artwork. Periodically, a visual refrain returns us to a snail that makes its way, bit by bit, over the stone. For it, the stone was an age, and as the book progresses, the passage of time brings steadily rising waters. In the end, the stone becomes an island and then a wave, and finally, to an owl soaring over the sea-flooded world, the stone was a memory. Yet on the ocean floor, where the stone still sits, another snail begins its journey.--Ronny Khuri Copyright 2019 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781452173184 As in They All Saw a Cat, Wenzel's poem focuses on how point of view affects experience. This time, his subject is a humble stone: "A stone sat still/ with the water, grass, and dirt,/ and it was as it was/ where it was in the world." In each spread or vignette, a different wild creature encounters the round rock. A wide-eyed chipmunk perches on it as the sun casts it in shadow ("and the stone was dark"); at night, an owl peers at it lit by the moon ("and the stone was bright"). After a gull breaks a clam on its surface ("and the stone was loud"), a snake sunbathes there ("and the stone was quiet"). Animals witness it turning different seasonal hues and encounter it variably as smooth and rough, large and small, "a blink" and "an age." Alert readers will notice that the water beneath the stone rises as the pages turn-eventually, great waves overtake it in spreads that reveal a vast expanse of silvery water. But the stone isn't gone: under the waves, it "sits still in the world," a small snail upon it. "Have you ever seen such a place?" Wenzel asks. Look closely, his words say: even the most seemingly insignificant bits of Earth offer splendor. The wonderful mixed-media creatures and their encounters entertain, while bigger ideas suggest all kinds of conversations about perception and perspective, wildlife and habitat, local and global change, and eternity and evanescence. Ages 3-5. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. As with Wenzel's Caldecott Honor-winning They All Saw a Cat (2016), this picture book plays with perspective to examine characteristics of one objecta stoneas it is experienced by a multitude of creatures.When a sea gull perches atop the stone to crack open a clam, it is "loud." When a snake curls upon it to rest in the sun, it is "quiet." But no matter what, the stone "was as it was / where it was in the world." Wenzel's mixed-media illustrations use a muted color palette well suited to this presentation of the natural world. Readers experience the stone's sensory qualities through the text and its relationship with slightly anthropomorphized animals. In the dark, the stone is "a feel," as curious-looking raccoons know it through their paws, while it's "a smell," lit up in vibrant colors, to a hunting coyote, who sniffs the scents of the creatures who have previously passed. The book's only misstep is the addition of three unnecessary spreads at the end that directly ask readers if they've "ever known such a place?" Coming as they do after text that reads, "and the stone was always," these spreads cannot help but feel anticlimactic. A gentle celebration of sameness and change. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Stop! Bot!
 James Yang
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780425288818 The action in this urban interlude unfolds in front of a city apartment building whose narrow shape is echoed by the book's tall, thin trim size. Yang (Bus! Stop!) constructs his spreads using a palette of brick red and sandstone, slate and cornflower blue. A family strolls by the building's entrance, the younger brother flying a remote-controlled toy. "I have a bot!" he announces to the doorman. Suddenly the bot starts rising: "Stop! BOT!" the family cries. The doorman leaps into action and heads up the apartment steps. Outside the building, neighbors peer out of their windows, proposing ideas: "My broom may reach the bot!" one apartment dweller cries, poking a push broom out his window. The bot flies higher. "Can my fork and spoon snag your bot?" a cook says, making a grab with impossibly long implements. The camera angle rises from story to story; at the very top, the bowed legs of a large, furry creature come into view, the family's unlikely rooftop savior-so long as there are bananas to trade. Yang works within the constraints of the building's form to generate intriguing possibilities presented with clarity and wit. Ages 2-5. Agent: David Goldman, the David Goldman Agency. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780425288818 After a child's remote-control robot flies away in front of an apartment building, the building's residents try to help retrieve it (‘My broom may reach that bot!’). The book's tall trim size reflects the building's narrow verticality. Yang's blocky, mid-century modern art aesthetically complements this dynamic, easy-to-read story that's half wonderfully wacky caper and half salute to community. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780425288818 The residents of a tall, narrow apartment building, the shape of which is mirrored in the book's trim size, band together to try and catch a young boy's runaway bot. Technically more of a drone, this red, rectangular bot is topped with a black propeller that is taking it ever higher into the sky, despite cries of Stop! Bot! As the bot passes each floor's windows, the building's tenants lean out and try to snag it with everything from a giant spoon and long-handled broom to a baseball glove to a hungry-looking Venus flytrap. The illustrations resemble cut-paper collages, made with basic shapes and muted colors. Kids will have fun spotting the different apartment residents and guessing how they'll try to help the boy. Word repetition and short sentences, appearing exclusively as speech-bubble dialogue, make this picture book a great choice for beginning readers. An unexpected rooftop surprise will leave youngsters with a happy resolution and smiles on their faces.--Julia Smith Copyright 2019 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. It's a quiet day, until."I have a bot!" An excited child's happiness is short-lived, for the remote-controlled toy escapes its wireless tether and begins an ascent up the side of a skyscraper. The building's doorman launches a race to recover the bot, and soon everyone wants to help. Attempts to retrieve the bot, which is rendered as a red rectangle with a propeller, arms, and a rudimentary face, go from the mundanity of a broom to the absurda bright orange beehive hairdo and a person-sized Venus' flytrap are just some of the silly implements the building's occupants use to try to rein in the bot. Each double-page spread reveals another level of the buildingand further visual hijinksas the bot makes its way to the top, where an unexpected hero waits (keep an eye out for falling bananas). The tall, narrow trim size echoes the shape of the skyscraper, providing a sense of height as the bot rises. Text is minimal; short declarations in tidy black dialogue bubbles with white courier-style typeface leave the primary-colored, blocky art to effectively carry the story. Facial expressionsboth human and botare comically spot-on. The bot-owning child has light skin, and there are several people of color among those trying to rescue the bot. One person wears a kufi.The visual details invite interaction, making it a good choice for storytime or solo inspection. (Picture book. 2-6) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780425288818 PreS-Gr 1—In this book, a boy is enjoying flying his robot outside. He suddenly loses track of the flying bot and desperately wants to get it back. The residents of a building attempt to help him get his robot back as it sails higher and higher alongside the building. Each neighbor uses a unique method to try and stop the bot. These include a trombone, a brush, and silverware among others. These varying methodologies embody the diversity of the hobbies and identities of the people living in the building. The childlike nature of the book's illustrations make them visually inviting for young children. Geometric shapes are used to illustrate the buildings and windows, and bright pastel colors are blended with vibrant primary colors to create a soft and pleasant look. VERDICT Yang depicts a group of people from different backgrounds working together to complete a task in this eye catching text; a solid title on teamwork and unity.—Deanna Smith, Pender County Public Library, NC
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Stormy: A Story about Finding a Forever Home.
Book Jacket   Guojing
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. This wordless story details the developing friendship between a homeless dog and a kind, patient young woman.The scruffy dog has floppy ears and long, reddish hair, and the light-skinned woman has long hair of the same auburn shade. The story is set in a modern city and a nearby park with a huge tree and a wooden bench that serves as the only shelter for the dog at night. When the woman comes to read on the bench, she spots the shy dog, gradually befriending the appealing canine over several visits by playing with a tennis ball. One night the dog follows the woman to her apartment building, waiting outside in the rain for her to reappear even as the woman goes back to the park in the pelting rain to search for the dog. In an emotionally satisfying reunion they find each other outside the apartment, and the woman takes the dog into her home. The heartwarming conclusion shows the dog sleeping on the end of the woman's bed as morning sunlight streams in the windows. Skillfully composed illustrations in a muted palette alternate between small panels in rows and full-page spreads with dramatic effects in mood and lighting. The narrative is conveyed so capably through the compelling illustrations that not a word is needed.A touching tale about the strong emotional connection between dog and human. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781524771768 A small, curly-haired dog huddles alone under a park bench. When a young woman sits down, she is drawn to the stray, who runs away. The next day, she returns with a ball. As the two interact from a distance, the cautious dog slowly warms up, never coming too close. After the third day, as the woman walks back to her apartment, she doesn't see the dog follow her home. A terrible thunderstorm strikes that night, and while the dog shivers in a box near her doorway, the woman hurries off to the park on a rescue mission. When she returns home dejected, she finally notices the frightened, dripping stray and takes her new friend inside. Guojing (The Only Child, 2015) presents this wordless story in clean-cut panels interspersed with full-bleed spreads. Evocative pencil-and-watercolor images use a soft color palette sepia tones in daylight, grays and blues at night to emphasize the warmth developing between the woman and dog. The dramatic, elegantly designed illustrations bring an astounding power to an otherwise simple story, capturing nuanced emotion through movement, posture, and color. Brimming with golden-hued love, this is a book that successfully appeals to our most basic human sentiment, perfect for anyone who appreciates Guojing's accomplished visual style as well as for dog-lovers of all ages.--Lucinda Whitehurst Copyright 2010 Booklist
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781524771768 Gr 1–4—Guojing's wordless picture book follow-up to The Only Child is a story of patience and building trust in new relationships. A small, stray dog lives under a park bench and is visited by a young woman who repeatedly tries to connect with the pup, eventually using the element of play and the lure of playing ball. After one day of ball, without the woman knowing, the dog follows her home and that night a storm eventually brings the two permanently together. On the surface this is a simple story, but Guojing's artistic techniques draw readers in to each quiet, tender, fearful moment and allows them to understand the trauma that comes from living in insecurity. Using pencil and watercolor, her emotive use of light shows the sense of loneliness and isolation that happens in the shadows. Pages move from panels to full spreads that offer pacing and pauses to match the ebbs and flows of the building relationship. Just like the young woman gives the dog the space it needs, Guojing gives readers moments to stop and feel the emotion. VERDICT This beautifully illustrated book will appeal to a wide range of ages, can spark conversations around houselessness and insecurity, or just be enjoyed as a tale of a dog finding a "forever home."—Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, OR
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781524771768 Accomplished panel artwork by Guojing (The Only Child) tells a wordless story about a young woman who spots a shaggy stray in a park. The dog stays behind when she leaves, and it’s there when she returns; she’s determined to lure it closer, but it won’t approach. Guojing’s panels convey the young woman’s patience as she uses a ball to build a bond with the stray. As the day ends, the light shifts from silvery cloudiness to golden rays of sunset. Readers see the dog trail the woman home, carrying its ball, then, in one of the story’s heart-tugging moments, sit in front of her apartment gazing up at her window. That night, a storm drives the hound into a discarded box as the woman dashes back to the park. A series of tense crosscut panels depict her frantic search amid sheets of rain, her downcast return, and the moment she spies the pup. From then on, warmth and love enter the dog’s life—and the woman’s. Guojing paces the story to rock emotionally between the dog’s lonely existence and the woman’s offer of love, building all the way to a joyful conclusion. Ages 3–7. Agent: Isabel Atherton, Creative Authors. (Sept.)
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me.
Book Jacket   Eloise Greenfield
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781492677246 Greenfield presents poems from new puppy Thinker's and young owner Jace's points of view. The two philosophize about poetry and life while getting to know each other. The poems range from free verse, sometimes with well-paced internal rhyme, to more structured rhyming poems. Abdollahi's bright paper collages show a joyful, brown-skinned family, in a welcome addition to the too-small canon of lighthearted animal fantasy (and poetry) featuring children of color. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781492677246 In a poetic narrative first published in the U.K., a boy's dog is much more than a friendly pooch-like his owner, Jace, he's a poet: "They named me Thinker, and I knew/ this was the place to be." Jace and Thinker communicate in non-rhymed verses. "When I recite my poems,/ I make music," Jace says. But even though Jace loves exchanging poems with Thinker at home, he fears how others might react if they heard him recite poetry. Abdollahi illustrates in evocative collage using handmade paper, capturing the feel of Jace's bustling community. Coretta Scott King Award-winner Greenfield sensitively conveys Jace's anxiety about being perceived as different, and his realization that being true to one's self is the best bet-for kids and dog poets, too. Ages 4-8. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781492677246 Sixteen narratively connected verses feature a poetic dog, Thinker, and his seven-year-old rhymester human, Jace. Thinker's poems explore how he got his name, the mysteries of the universe, his desire to go to school, and his difficulties remembering not to declaim in the presence of humans outside his family. The pooch mostly succeeds until Pets' Day, when he spontaneously recites a jingle for Jace's class, prompting all the other pets to demonstrate their own special talents as well. Greenfield's poems are short, varied (many are free verse, but some are haiku and others rap), and mostly delivered from the dog's perspective. Abdollahi's mixed-media collage artwork features handmade and hand-colored papers that are inspired by the environment. The papers are particularly adept at conveying textures and shading, and while figures are stylized, the art works well both close up and from a story hour distance. Jace and his family are African American, and his neighborhood is nicely diverse. Appended with a note about the poems from Greenfield, this should encourage young wordsmiths.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2019 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A puppy gets a new home and a new family while learning to communicate.When 7-year-old Jace receives a new pet dog, he picks out the perfect name for a puppy who believes he is a poet. "We'll name you Thinker,' yes, I think / that that's the name for you." Jace, too, is a poet. "When I recite my poems, / I make music." Not permitted to attend school with Jace, Thinker spends time at home with Jace's little sister, Kimmy, and visits with his twin, who lives nearby. At last, it's "Pets' Day at school," but Jace doesn't want his poet puppy to speak. As Thinker knows, he's afraid "his friends will say / he's a weird kid, with a weird pet." Despite his best effort not to, Thinker recites a poembut all the other pets join in with their own special talents, to the delight of the teacher, students, and even Jace. Greenfield brings her vast experience to this delightful piece of poetic whimsy that celebrates the powers of poetry, family, and friendship. Jace's family is African-American while neighbors and schoolmates are pictured as diverse. The poems are primarily free verse, but there are haiku and rap as well. Iranian illustrator Abdollahi uses expressive handmade and -colored paper collages to complement the mood. The light and liveliness of the pictures are eye-catching and appealing, and the color palette is warm and rich, further enhancing the poetry. A good way to introduce the youngest readers to extended narratives in verse. (Picture book/poetry. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781492677246 Gr 1-2-What if your dog could speak human words? When Jace and his family want to name their new puppy "something cute," the dog objects. "Uh-uh! No way! No way!/I'm deep and I'm a poet. No!/A cute name's not OK." Naming him Thinker, Jace, who is a poet, shares his ideas about poetry with the pup. The improbable--even goofy--premise plays out as an entertaining, empathetic story and congenial poetry lesson through Greenfield's skilled writing. Abdollahi's fine use of cutting tools with hand-crafted papers produce simple, attractive characters and scenes. The title suggests that Jace will be the narrator, but Thinker takes center stage most of the time. Greenfield favors free verse that moves easily along, recounting Thinker's days and his eventual visit to Jace's school for Pets' Day. There is one haiku and a small rhymed verse along the way, and Thinker closes his stirring class visit and the book with a rap. Greenfield's short concluding commentary on poetry writing, free verse, and rap invites readers to also write their own poems. Modest in size, the narrative will work best with an early grade range for personal enjoyment, read-aloud, and discussion. It could also serve nicely in teaching both art and poetry writing in older classes. VERDICT A well-crafted title that is wide in appeal and possibilities for use.-Margaret Bush, Simmons College, Boston © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Todos Iguales All Equal: Un Corrido De Lemon Grove A Ballad of Lemon Grove
 Christy Hale
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780892394272 Gr 3–6—It is 1930, and young student Roberto Álvarez loves school in Lemon Grove, where Mexican and Anglo children learn and play together. When Roberto's family and neighbors discover the school board is planning to create a separate school for the children of Mexican families, they create the Lemon Grove Neighbors Committee, meet with the Mexican consul, and file a lawsuit against the school board. Roberto is chosen to show that the claims the school board is making—that the students were being sent to the second school to receive special attention because they needed additional help—are untrue. Roberto's concise and educated answers (shown to be spoken in complete English) help to convince the judge that separating the children is unjust. Beautiful, stylized illustrations depict the events and individuals' personalities clearly. Text in both English and Spanish accompanies the illustrations, making this a nonfiction book that will be widely accessible to readers of one or both languages. The book includes a corrido, or ballad, of the events of Lemon Grove, as well as pages with more information about the case and the participants, what happened after the case, and additional details about corridos. A source page brings these elements together to create a deeply knowledgeable text about an important time in our history. VERDICT Bilingual text and eye-catching illustrations join a treasure of additional resources to create this significant text. Highly recommended for nonfiction collections for young readers, and perfect for use alongside titles such as Separate Is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh.—Selenia Paz, Harris County Public Library, Houston
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780892394272 In the 1930s, the Mexican American community in Lemon Grove, California, organized to bring a lawsuit against the school board--’the first successful school desegregation case’--after the board secretly commissioned building an inferior school to segregate Mexican American children. The third-person text, in both Spanish and English, is told from the perspective of twelve-year-old Roberto. Hale skillfully uses such visual techniques as large halo shapes and split panels to depict the unfolding events while also highlighting aspects of everyday life in this small agricultural town. Bib. (c) Copyright 2021. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780892394272 In 1931, the Mexican American students of Lemon Grove School in California were told they could no longer attend and instead must move to an inferior, ill-equipped building. The community, including Anglo and Mexican American families, rallied and boycotted both schools, which led to a lawsuit: Roberto Álvarez v. the Board of Trustees of the Lemon Grove School District. This engaging, bilingual informational text puts Roberto's fight for equality front and center. A corrido, or Spanish ballad, precedes the narrative, giving the book an epic feel. The captivating illustrations are rendered in gouache and relief printing inks in verdant and warm colors. This work sensitively and accurately depicts the racist repercussions of segregation and also shines a light on the power of unity and community in action. Extensive back matter, including photos, reproductions, source notes, and quotations, will encourage further study. This court case should be celebrated alongside Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. A must-have, illuminating gem.--Shelley M. Diaz Copyright 2010 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780892394272 In the summer of 1930, the school board of Lemon Grove, Calif., made a radical decision: to build a separate school for the community’s Mexican-American students. The “two-room, barnlike building,” filled with “castoff school supplies,” galvanized Lemon Grove’s Mexican American community. Their organizing resulted in 12-year-old Roberto Álvarez becoming the plaintiff in the “first successful school desegregation case in United States history.” Opening with a corrido, a traditional Mexican story-song, the bilingual text in Spanish and English presents a lesser-known chapter of U.S. civil rights history in clear, compelling prose, centering the story in immigrant community action. Vivid illustrations, created with gouache and relief-printing inks, combine crisp edges and soft textures, conjuring the feeling of looking back into time. Concluding spreads delve further into the history and impact of the case, the major players involved in the action, and the structure of corridos. Essential and enlightening. Ages 8–12. (Aug.)
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Twenty-three years before Brown v. Board of Education, the first successful desegregation case in the United States, Roberto lvarez v. the Board of Trustees of the Lemon Grove School District, was decided in California in 1931.In 1930, Lemon Grove school board members secretly decided to provide a segregated education to U.S. citizens of Mexican descent who had, up to that time, enjoyed equal education with the "Anglo" children. Hale's bilingual text, Spanish printed above English, accompanies her illustrations and describes how the school's white principal disobeyed the board's orders and alerted the families. The Latino community boycotted the inferior school and sought legal recourse with the help of the Mexican consul. The board members argued that a separate education was necessary in order "to give special attention to students who spoke poor English and had other deficiencies.' " The plaintiff, 12-year-old Roberto lvarez, responded to the white judge's questions in perfect Englishand the judge ruled in favor of the 75 Mexican American students. Hale bases much of her account of this important but little-known case on primary sources and interviews with many of the principal participants. However, the backmatter regarding the history of Mexican immigration and the mass deportations of the 1930s is both inaccurate and oversimplified, so educators should seek out additional information when using this text. (A revision to this backmatter will appear in the book's second printing.)An essential springboard for further meaningful discussion of this relevant and divisive topic. (Informational picture book. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
?Vamos! Let?s Go to the Market.
 Raul Gonzalez
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781328557261 Colors by Elaine Bay. Little Lobo and his dog Bernabi deliver goods to their friends in the mercado. Detailed comics-style illustrations feature anthropomorphic creatures, objects, and places; colors are largely muted so they don't compete with the many items on the riotously bustling and crowded pages. Most objects are labeled in Spanish, like a visual dictionary, and cultural references (a cinema called Buquel; Cantinflas and Frida Kahlo puppets) are interspersed throughout. Glos. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. Little Lobo and his dog, Bernab, journey through a Mexican mercado delivering diverse goods to a variety of booths.With the aid of red words splattered throughout the spreads as labels, Ral the Third gives an introduction to Spanish vocabulary as Little Lobo, an anthropomorphic wolf, leaves his house, fills his cart with objects from his warehouse, and delivers them to the market's vendors. The journey also serves as a crash course in Mexican culture, as the images are packed with intertextual details such as food, traditional games, and characters, including Cantinflas, Frida Khalo, and Juan Gabriel. Readers acquainted with Ral the Third's characters from his Lowriders series with author Cathy Camper will appreciate cameos from familiar characters. As he makes his rounds, Little Lobo also collects different artifacts that people offer in exchange for his deliveries of shoe polish, clothespins, wood, tissue paper, paintbrushes, and a pair of golden laces. Although Ral the Third departs from the ball-pen illustrations that he is known for, his depiction of creatures and critters peppering the borderland where his stories are set remains in his trademark style. The softer hues in the illustrations (chosen by colorist Bay) keep the busy compositions friendly, and the halftone patterns filling the illustrations create foregrounds and backgrounds reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein's pointillism.A culturally intricate slice of a lupine courier's life. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781328557261 This picture book graphic novel by RaAºl the Third (Low Riders to the Center of the Earth) celebrates the richness of border-town culture. The artist shows Little Lobo and his dog BernabAc as they make deliveries to Mercado de ChauhtAcmoc la Curiosidad, "a maze of pathways, shops, and booths." Spanish and English words intermingle on the page as Little Lobo goes first to a warehouse to pick up items merchants have asked for ("clothes pins-pinzas para la ropa"), then heads for the market. Witty, stylish panel artwork crackles with funky comic energy, and the market churns with activity as merchants sell sweets (Little Lobo buys a churro), make piA±atas, and paint on velvet. Little Lobo brings the clothespins to SeA±or Duende, who gives him a comic book about his favorite luchador, El Toro. "It would be great if we could meet El Toro one day," Little Lobo sighs. Miraculously, as if the pleasures of churros and comics were not enough, he gets to give his hero a ride home. Most pleasing is the market's atmosphere of warmth and affection: "Siempre tiene prisa!" the jarmaker clucks fondly after Little Lobo: "Always in a hurry!" Spanish words define background objects throughout (fuego describes a fire breather's warm emanation) and a Spanish-to-English glossary concludes this inventive picture book. Ages 4-7. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781328557261 K-Gr 2-It is an exciting day for Little Lobo. Today, he is going to the market with his dog, Bernabé. The desert town is vibrant with commerce, street vendors, and an array of animal inhabitants. For Little Lobo there is no stopping; he absolutely enjoys greeting acquaintances, delighting in street performances, and fulfilling his job of delivering supplies at the market. Gonzalez has created a simple narrative that includes Spanish vocabulary, which is playfully positioned surrounding the many streets, food stores, and buildings, encouraging readers to say the Spanish words as they turn the pages. The cartoon images set a festive tone, inspired by El Mercado Cuauhtémoc in Juárez, Mexico, with a soft- toned autumnal palette. The book contains a glossary with the vocabulary words and their respective pronouns. VERDICT This picture book entertains and informs readers through fresh and engaging art, advancing Spanish vocabulary and cultural references. A winner.-Kathia Ibacache, Simi Valley Public Library, CA © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781328557261 Excellent for English and Spanish language learners alike, this bilingual book for young readers combines language acquisition and cultural themes, telling a simple story while giving readers a real feast for the eyes in its richly detailed, full-color cartoon scenes depicting the animal denizens of El Mercado. Little Lobo's day at the market involves running around everywhere delivering packages. While he's at it, readers can wander around the pages full of background action in the Richard Scarry-like scenes, filled with busy merchants and labyrinthine layouts, a maze of pathways, shops, and booths. Everything is inconspicuously labeled with Spanish terms, the dialogue is often translated for non-Spanish speakers, and the scenery references many aspects of Mexican culture, such as sugar skulls, Cantinflas and other icons, cultural dress, cuisine, folk music and dancing, Lucha libre, and much more. A helpful glossary at the end fills any gaps. This lively, inviting picture book offers readers a playful glimpse into a desert world surrounded by mountains and cactuses.--Kristina Pino Copyright 2019 Booklist
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2020 (Younger Readers)
What Is Given from the Heart.
Book Jacket   Patricia C. McKissack
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780375836152 James Otis and his mother don't have much. Daddy died last April-he didn't even "have a suit to be buried in" -the family farm is gone, and the two of them now live in a "run-down shotgun house" that floods when it rains. But when their pastor asks the congregation to help a family who lost everything in a fire, Mama does her part, sewing an apron made from her cherished white tablecloth, and she expects James to find "a li'l bit of something" for the girl, Sarah. "What is given from the heart reaches the heart," Mama says, echoing the pastor's words. After much thought, James Otis creates a book for and about Sarah herself-a gift the girl presses to her heart. This final book by the late McKissack (Let's Clap, Jump, Sing & Shout) showcases the legendary author's signature lyricism in full force and receives a stunning, aesthetically ambitious interpretation by Harrison, a fine artist making her picture book debut. Flattened perspectives lend her characters quiet stature and communal strength, and elaborately textured colors exude translucence and light, almost as if these mixed-media images were created from stained glass. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Elizabeth Harding, Curtis Brown. (Jan.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780375836152 In the months following the death of his father, life is hard for young James Otis and Mama. Still, when Reverend Dennis requests donations for a family that has lost everything to fire, Mama is the first to respond, sewing an apron from her best tablecloth. James Otis has a harder time deciding what to give, but finally settles on an illustrated book of his own creation. This posthumous offering from award winner McKissack (Who Will Bell the Cat?, 2018) recounts a heartfelt story demonstrating that joyful giving can have many rewards. Harrison's mixed-media and collage artwork portrays a close-knit, African American community, where fancy possessions are in short supply, but love and caring abound. Using folk-style illustrations and favoring earth tones, Harrison utilizes mottled backgrounds and colorfully collaged pieces to depict the characters' clothing. The faces are particularly expressive, conveying a full range of emotions. Appropriate for one-on-one sharing and story hours alike, this is a moving story that attests to life's most important values.--Kay Weisman Copyright 2018 Booklist
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A boy who has little learns that he can still give. James Otis and his mama have fallen on hard times. His father died, and they had no suit in which to bury him; they lost their farm, their new "run-down shotgun house in the Bottoms" flooded, and his dog ran away. Though they have very little, his mama says, "Long as we have our health and strength, we are blessed." As Valentine's Day approaches, their pastor announces that "love boxes" will be delivered to the needy in the community, including a mother and daughter who have lost everything in a fire. He reminds them that "what is given from the heart reaches the heart." Mama gets right to work sewing her best tablecloththe one nice thing she ownsinto an apron that she hopes will please the mother, Irene. But James Otis can't think of anything he has that the little girl would want. Finally, he comes up with a plan, and what he gives from the heart, little Sarah cherishes. Debut illustrator Harrison's heartfelt mixed-media illustrations, which include collage, acrylic, and found objects, emphasize the closeness between James Otis and his mother. The full faces of the characters and the muted palette and spare backgrounds reflect the dignity and joy to be found within black culture and community life even in lean times.A sweet story, one of the legendary McKissack's last, enhanced by delectable art from a prodigious new talent. (Picture book. 4-10) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780375836152 K-Gr 3-Although he and his mama are poor, James Otis struggles to find something he can give the Temple family, who have lost everything in a fire. After his daddy dies suddenly, the boy and his mom lose their farm and move into a "run-down shotgun house." A flood further adds to their misery. Yet when Reverend Dennis announces the congregation will deliver "love boxes" to needy families for Valentine's Day, the boy and his mother decide to provide gifts for the Temples. "Stitchin' with a loving heart," mama turns her one treasure, a tablecloth, into an apron for Mrs. Temple. Considering several of his possessions unsuitable, James Otis finally decides to make a book for Sarah Temple. The delighted Temples receive their box with the congregation looking on. Their hearts filled with joy at having given to others, James Otis and mama return home to discover a love box has been delivered to them. Textured backgrounds that bleed to the edges and often include spreads form the backdrop for the folk-art illustrations rendered in mixed media and found objects. All the figures are elongated, and the brightest colors appear in a striking scene of the close-knit African American community walking to church dressed in their Sunday best. There are depictions of the modest neighborhood and touching close-ups of the boy and his mom in loving embrace and Sarah clutching her treasured book to her chest. VERDICT This story of the joy of giving despite one's own needs is a must-have for group discussions of empathy. A treasure from a marvelous storyteller.-Marianne Saccardi, Children's Literature Consultant, Cambridge, MA © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780375836152 In this story of giving, James Otis marvels that Mama is contributing to the church's "love box" for a family in need when they have so little themselves. But hearing "what is given from the heart reaches the heart" helps James Otis start thinking differently about what he does have. Detailed, highly textured, strikingly patterned collage illustrations invite readers to linger over the pages and add depth to the characters. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
When Aidan Became a Brother
Book Jacket   Kyle Lukoff
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781620148372 PreS-Gr 2—This well-illustrated and sweet family tale centers on the experiences of a transgender boy. Like Erica Silverman's Jack (not Jackie), this title portrays parental support and love between siblings. In this story, Aidan has not yet met the baby who will be his sibling, and that's what has him worried. Will the baby like sea horse or penguin-themed outfits better? If Aidan helps paint the nursery to look like the sky, maybe his new sibling won't ever feel trapped the way Aidan did in his old room, before his parents knew he was a boy. Aidan does everything he can to prepare (short of accepting his dad's offer to practice changing diapers), but his excitement shifts to anxiety. What if he's making mistakes and the baby also ends up feeling misunderstood? Lukoff (himself a transgender man) nails the nuances of Aidan's conflict, providing believable reassurance through Aidan's mom, who offers support specific to her son's experience and proves universally calming advice: "We made some mistakes but you helped us fix them….This baby is lucky to have you and so are we." Juanita's playful watercolors make great use of clothing patterns and nature motifs, airily fashioning the sunny world of Aidan's mostly brown-skinned family and their friends, while framing curious or intrusive strangers from a child's-eye view. VERDICT A much-needed and appealing addition to the picture book canon; both emotionally and visually satisfying.—Miriam DesHarnais, Towson University, MD
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9781620148372 Though assigned female at birth, biracial Aidan soon realizes he is actually a boy, one who dislikes his girl's clothes and pink bedroom. When he tells his parents that he is a trans boy, they lovingly rectify their errors. Upon renaming himself, Aidan gleefully explores ways of being a boy. Then he learns that his mom is pregnant, and he immediately becomes concerned that he might not be a good big brother. Since he doesn't know if the baby will be a boy or a girl, he searches for names that would fit either, and he is upset when people ask if he is excited by the prospect of a new brother or sister, and steadfastly announces he is simply excited to be a big brother. Though he knows he might make some mistakes, he understands that the most important thing is that he simply love his new sibling and so, when the baby is born (its sex is not given), he does. A trans man himself, Lukoff writes with authority and a loving spirit. Juanita's cheerful digital illustrations are a nicely harmonious match with the text, expanding it in meaningful ways. Together, the text and pictures create a heartfelt celebration of love that will be an ideal selection for trans children and for any who are expecting a new sibling.--Michael Cart Copyright 2019 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9781620148372 Everyone thought Aidan was a girl when he was born, but Aidan knows that "he was really another kind of boy." "He felt like his room belonged to someone else. And he always ripped or stained his clothes accidentally-on-purpose." Finally, Aidan cuts his hair short, dons clothes that suit him better, and tells his parents ("It took everyone some time to adjust, and they learned a lot from other families with transgender kids like him"). #OwnVoices author Lukoff (A Storytelling of Ravens) writes with sensitivity and candor as Aidan takes his first steps toward claiming his identity. When his mother is expecting another child, Aidan excitedly prepares for his big brother role and seeks to welcome his sibling in a way that "could fit this new person no matter who they grew up to be." Juanita (Ta-Da!) illustrates with fine ink outlines and loose patterns, filling Aidan's revamped bedroom with cozy fabrics, and populating a family baby shower with balloons that spell out an inclusive, triumphant sign: "it's a baby." The creators' exploration of one transgender child's experience emphasizes the importance of learning "how to love someone for exactly who they are." Ages 5-6. (June) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A transgender boy anticipates his new job as a big brother by helping his parents prepare for his baby sibling's arrival.Aidan "felt trapped" in his old name, clothes, and room before he told his parents "what he knew about himself." Some girls never wore dresses, "but Aidan didn't feel like any kind of girl" because he was "another kind of boy." With his parents' support, he embraces his identity and takes on a new, important role, becoming a big brother. More than anything, he wants the baby to feel loved and understood. This picture book sets a new standard of excellence in transgender representation by centering the feelings of Aidan, a biracial (black and South Asian) transgender boy. Juanita's (Ta-Da!, 2018) digital illustrations have the look of ink and watercolor, and they bring the love in Aidan's family to life. Bright, mixed patterns in Aidan's clothes capture the vibrancy of his personality and his excitement to welcome a baby into the family. Lukoff (A Storytelling of Ravens, 2018) breaks away from binary language and stereotypical gender roles, highlighting within the text and in an author's note that there is more than one way to be a person of any gender. The hopeful message at the end emphasizes love and the importance of staying open to learning.Joyful and affirming, Aidan's story is the first of its kind among books for welcoming a new baby. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Horn Book (c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9781620148372 Brown-skinned (possibly biracial) Aidan, who's transgender, knows how it feels to be misunderstood, so he wants to get things right for his new sibling. Lukoff's straightforward approach to Aidan's gender transition rings with authenticity, and he puts the child-centered story ahead of message. Celebrating the family's close, affirming relationship, Juanita's vibrant digital illustrations take cues from the text, which models how to avoid the male/female binary. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
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2020 (Younger Readers)
When Spring Comes to the DMZ
 Uk-Bae Lee.
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780874869729 Created after the truce that ended the Korean War in 1953, the Korean demilitarized zone split the country in two, dividing its population and separating families. In the swath between the countries' barbed wire borders, though, the natural world flourishes: "When spring comes to the DMZ,/ green shoots spring up in the meadows." South Korean peace activist Lee celebrates the animals that thrive despite the political tension: "The seals don't know about the line./ They come and go freely." Throughout the seasons, an old man climbs the observation tower to look through a telescope; finely worked landscapes are drawn through his eyes: "Grandfather wants to fling the tightly locked gates wide open." A bold gatefold lets readers do just that, and Lee imagines Grandfather walking through the meadow with his grandson. Greater historical context beyond the included back matter would have been beneficial, but the story's poignancy will resonate. Ages 5-8. (Mar.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. This bittersweet picture book walks through the four seasons at Korea's heavily weaponized demilitarized zone, celebrating the nature that thrives there while mourning the human cost of this border wall. Although the story does not even define or discuss the DMZ or the Korean War, colorful illustrations reveal to young readers the long fences of razor wire hugging a beautiful mountainside. But because no humans are allowed in this 2.5-mile-wide, 150-mile-long buffer zone, the area has unintentionally become a nature sanctuary. The water deer, striped salmon, and mountain goats know no limitations to their habitat, crossing borders, swimming under barbed wire, and nesting near land mines. Their freedom, together with many references to home and family, stand in stark contrast to the military exercises that have continued through the cease-fire since 1953. Lee views this irony through the character of elderly Grandfather, who makes his way to the wall every season, gazing longingly upon his inaccessible former homeland. A foldout reveal at book's end is symbolic of the hope of a reunified Korea, with a simple reunion embrace representing the dreams of families separated since the 1950s. The endnote provides needed background along with a plea for peace and freedom.The cupboard is nearly bare of children's books about the DMZ, making this an excellent introduction to the crises on the Korean Peninsula as well as a great choice for social justice collections, peace promoters, and animal lovers. (Picture book. 4-12) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780874869729 Gr 1-3-Illustrations inspired by traditional Korean painting techniques are the star of this picture book in translation. Lyrical text, reminiscent of free verse, describes the wildlife and weather of Korea's Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) during each season in turn. Readers might think the book is about a nature preserve until they examine the accompanying illustrations, which show barbed wire and floodlights in the background of idyllic scenes of animals native to Korea. Lee describes human activities in the DMZ each season, too, depicting military activities and a grandfather who longs for the unified Korea of his youth. Back matter includes a simplified land map of North and South Korea, along with a description of the DMZ's history that will be easy for young readers to grasp. The descriptions of separated families and war violence in this afterword may be difficult for sensitive readers to process, but Lee's message advocating for a unified, peaceful Korea gives the book an overall hopeful tone. VERDICT Deftly tackling a topic that will likely be unfamiliar to many readers, this is sure to spark discussion among budding history enthusiasts.-Katherine Barr, Cameron Village Regional Library, Raleigh, NC © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780874869729 Every spring, Grandfather climbs the stairs to the observatory at the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) that separates the people of North and South Korea. He peers through binoculars, and readers get to see what he sees: an abundance of flora and fauna. Situated between walls of barbed wire, this strip of land has been untouched by humans since 1954 and bears witness to the glory of nature. Grandfather visits again in summer, autumn, and winter, all the while, soldiers practice their drills. The contrast between the joy of blooming nature and Grandfather's silent longing is sharp. While birds can fly south from the north, people cannot cross. Highly detailed illustrations in watercolor and pencil capture the softness of Grandfather's heart and the exuberance of wildlife that grows without bounds. Back matter provides a brief explanation of the Korean War and the pain of the separated populations with eerie timeliness. Hyechong Chung's K Is for Korea (2008) and Jon Agee's The Wall in the Middle of the Book (2018) might help young readers who need additional context.--Amina Chaudhri Copyright 2019 Booklist
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2020 (Younger Readers)
Why?
 Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Kirkus Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission. A patient bear deftly answers most of a childlike rabbit's many "whys."As the two friends perch with a telescope beneath a starry sky, the rabbit's "Why?" garners a contextual answer: "Because they are very far away." When the bear guzzles honey from three large jars, the inevitable query is met with "Because it tastes so good." The turn of the page reveals a reclining, lethargic bear. "Why?" "Because I ate too much." Seeger's patterned text invites readers to tease out what the friends' spare conversation leaves unsaid, scanning for clues among the pictures. Comic moments derive from the bear's succinct responses: The rabbit, buffeted while hanging from a branch ("Wind"), falls into the bear's arms ("Gravity"). Seeger's watercolors capture seasonal changes as nature's greens yield to falling leaves and flurrying snow. When the rabbit contemplates a dead cardinal, vivid red against the snow, the bear, eyes conveying emotion, says, "I don't know why. Sometimes I just don't know why!" As the bear moves toward a beckoning cave, the rabbit begs the bear to stayand it's the bear's turn to ask "Why?" A final scene shows the slumbering bear, the rabbit gazing from above, as snow falls. There are poignant echoes of Margaret Wise Brown's The Dead Bird and Raymond Briggs' The Snowman here.Not all questions can be answered, but the communion of friendship lights much of life's path. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Book list From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission. 9780823441730 One of Seeger's great talents is distilling a child's concerns to their essence. Here the stand-in for the child is a sweet white rabbit who can be frisky and contemplative by turns, but what she does most consistently is ask the one-word question of the title. A shaggy brown bear with a remarkably expressive face is helpfully there to answer. What Rabbit is questioning never needs to be spelled out, because it is so simply depicted in the lovely, focused watercolor illustrations. As he waters flowers, Bear responds to the ""why?"" by saying, ""Because flowers need water to grow."" As Bear guzzles pots of honey, the reason is because it tastes good. And when he's lying against a rock, holding his stomach, it's because he ""ate too much."" But for some things, there are no answers. Rabbit spies a robin dead in the snow, and a sad Bear can only say, ""Sometimes I don't know why."" This celebration of friendship, which Seeger moves seamlessly through the seasons, gives children the opportunity to intuit that, while things change, there is also stability in love and relationships. A poignant ending reiterates that bond, which will be touching for children who like to ask plenty of questions and for the adults on whose laps they sit.--Ilene Cooper Copyright 2019 Booklist
Publishers Weekly (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved 9780823441730 A little white rabbit is always asking, "Why?"-to which his kind, even-tempered bear friend usually has a simple but satisfying response. "Why?" the rabbit asks, watching the bear water a patch of blooms. "Because flowers need water to grow," the bear replies. Seasonal watercolor spreads by Seeger (Blue) are idyllic; the bear, painted in radiant, translucent oranges and browns, is patient but not paternal, which grants the small wiry rabbit a modicum of independence. But when winter arrives and the latter finds a dead cardinal in the snow-a startling but beautiful image-the refrain suddenly becomes too big for even the massive bear: "I don't know why. Sometimes I just don't know why," it says, trudging away to hibernate. Coming full circle, the rabbit asks its friend to stay ("Why?" the bear asks. "Because then I would miss my friend.... That's why") and patiently keeps watch while the bear sleeps. But the ending feels more flat than uplifting, and readers may not be able to get past rabbit's toddlerlike querying habit to appreciate its fondness for its friend. Ages 4-8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. 9780823441730 PreS-Gr 1—"'Why?' asked the rabbit," as a honey colored bear placidly waters the flowers, "'Because flowers need water to grow.'" And so the story progresses; Bear acts, Rabbit wonders, and Bear provides straightforward explanations. The text and illustrations must be interpreted together for readers to understand the context of the question—sometimes to humorous effect, such as the spread that shows Rabbit poking out of a hole while Bear explains, "Because I am way too big to fit." The larger font used for Rabbit's "Why?" conveys the inescapable intensity of the little creature's persistent questioning. Seasons change, and the questions come faster and faster, outpacing Bear's answers until a dead bird in the snow prompts the gentle giant to answer, "I don't know why. Sometimes I just don't know why!" Bear turns to leave,Rabbit chases after. '"Don't go,' said the rabbit.'" And the tables are turned as Bear is the one asking why while Rabbit explains, "Because then I would miss my friend." Readers see through the illustrations that it's time for Bear to hibernate, but are reassured that the friendship will last as Rabbit watches over Bear's wintery cave. Seeger's slightly anthropomorphized characters eloquently convey their feelings through body language. VERDICT Illustrations and text meld to provide a rich one-on-one reading experience that will be particularly resonate for any adult who has cared for a child in the 'why' phase.—Anna Haase Krueger, Ramsey County Library, MN
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