Although wordless, this deftly expresses our simple need to build connections that can endure across a galaxy.

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HELLO

Friendship can truly be out of this world.

A pale-faced, antennaed intergalactic explorer zooms through space in a red and blue rocket. Landing in the countryside on Earth, the visitor first discovers a colorful, welcoming world. But in town, the color disappears, and gray adult humans stride past one another, staring at their handheld devices. Only the explorer is still shown in color, staring up in bewilderment and lost in the sea of gray. Ignored, the explorer sits alone until an Asian-presenting human child offers a red crayon and paper. Together they draw pictures and fold them into paper airplanes that fly through the air, until the human’s becomes stuck in a tree. The explorer uses a gadget first to rescue the airplane and again when the child’s ice cream falls off its cone. When the explorer receives a message on the gadget and gets back into the rocket, the two friends say goodbye. Once home, however, the explorer misses the friend left behind on Earth and sends a star-studded message of greeting—the only word in the book. Vivid illustrations are often multipaneled, like a graphic novel, and vary in perspective for storytelling and cinematic effect. The presumably adult explorer and human child are similarly short and sturdily built, lending them a pleasing visual consonance.

Although wordless, this deftly expresses our simple need to build connections that can endure across a galaxy. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-939547-58-3

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Creston

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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The title says it all: Black boys are “every good thing.”

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I AM EVERY GOOD THING

A much-needed book for Black children when society demonstrates otherwise.

The Kirkus Prize–, Coretta Scott King Honor–, Newbery Honor–, and Caldecott Honor–winning team behind Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut (2017) return for another celebration of Black excellence. In a text brimming with imagination and Black-boy joy, Barnes lays the foundation for young Black readers to go forth into the world filled with confidence and self-assurance: “I am brave. I am hope. / I am my ancestors’ wildest dream. / I am worthy of success, / of respect, of safety, of kindness, of happiness.” Simultaneously, he opens a window for non-Black readers to see Black boys’ humanity. They have dreams, feel pain, are polite and respectful—the list of qualities goes on. Barnes also decides to address what is waiting for them as they experience the world. “I am not what they might call me.” With this forceful statement, he provides a tool for building Black resilience, reassuring young Black readers that they are not those names. James supplies his customarily painterly art, his brushy oils painting Black boys of every shade of brown playing, celebrating, achieving, aspiring, and loving. Through every stroke readers will see that Black boys are “worthy / to be loved.” (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 35% of actual size.)

The title says it all: Black boys are “every good thing.” (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-51877-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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