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A purposeful yet poignant exploration of allyship.

A neighborhood comes together after a shocking act of vandalism.

In the town of Natick, Massachusetts, in a welcoming and supportive neighborhood, Cari and Lauri, an older lesbian couple, proudly put up a rainbow flag outside their home with the help of three local kids. One day, Cari and Lauri find their house egged and their rainbow flag missing in an apparent hate crime. Upset by this turn of events, the couple tell the kids that they don’t feel comfortable putting the flag back up. After spitballing ideas from building a wall around the home and keeping watch over the front porch to finding the culprits themselves and then egging their home, the children decide to give rainbow flags to everyone in the community; they in turn display them outside their own homes. This tale is based on a similar incident that happened in 2016 in the real town of Natick. While the ending may be tidy and pat, with some awkward phrasing, it’s an age-appropriate way to show young readers how to support those communities most in need of support. Despite the subject matter, optimism pervades both the text and Evans' sunny illustrations. Backmatter includes an author’s note and a basic primer on how to be an LGBTQ+ ally. Cari and Lauri are light-skinned; their community is a diverse one.

A purposeful yet poignant exploration of allyship. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 9, 2024

ISBN: 9781506488448

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beaming Books

Review Posted Online: April 5, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2024

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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A heartwarming testament to music’s emotional power.

Music moves a nonverbal child to speak.

The narrator explains that Ronan was “born quiet. Some days he hardly says a word.” Today, when Father and Mother suggest outings to the beach or park, he’s quiet. But he looks up when Grandfather bursts in and proposes attending a concert. With refreshing optimism, Grandfather proclaims it “an adventure,” though Ronan’s parents worry about the “challenge” and “risk” of taking him to a performance. And when Ronan, his dog, and Grandfather reach Symphony Hall, an adventure it is. When the music starts, Ronan is swept away in a whirl of notes. Collectively, the instruments sound like “a sky full of stars,” sending him and his cheerful pup into a space-themed reverie. Boss notes that “the darker instruments sound cool and frightening” and the lighter ones sound “warm and friendly” but does not name the instruments, a missed opportunity to deepen readers’ understanding of the music enthralling Ronan. Audience and orchestra members alike are moved to laughter and applause when the music stops, and an awed Ronan utters his first “WOW!” Kheiriyeh’s endearing, pastel-hued cartoon illustrations convey Ronan’s astonishment and joy. Though an author’s note explains that the story is based on an actual nonverbal child’s experience of a Mozart piece in 2019, details such as Mother’s pearls and housedress and Grandfather’s finned car evoke a bucolic 1950s setting. Ronan and his family present white; background characters are racially diverse.

A heartwarming testament to music’s emotional power. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 2, 2024

ISBN: 9781534499713

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2024

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