I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE A CHILD

Provocative and guaranteed to spark awareness of children’s rights.

From the bold opening assertion, “I am a child with eyes, hands, a voice, a heart, and rights,” to the urgent closing plea, “We need our rights to be respected now—today,” this primer invites young readers to think about their universal rights as children as embodied in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

An engaging child narrator explains that kids have a right to: a name, a family, a country, food and water, shelter, medicines and help if their bodies don’t “work as well as other children’s.” Kids have a right to go to school, to refuse to work, to express themselves, to play and create, to be protected from disasters and wars, to be free from violence, and to breathe air “pure as the blue sky.” These rights apply to all children regardless of gender, race, size, wealth or country if they live in one of the 193 countries ratifying the Convention. Readers may be surprised, however, to discover the United States is not one of these countries. Engagingly naive acrylic illustrations spanning double-page spreads evoke Chagall in their use of flat patterns, swirling lines, vibrant hues, and symbolic, powerful dream-like images of the repertoire of children’s rights.

Provocative and guaranteed to spark awareness of children’s rights. (note on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child; list of states party to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 12, 2012

ISBN: 978-1-55498-149-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2012

FULL MOON LORE

Trite text and overworked art detract from an interesting concept.

Each month of the year is represented by a full moon, one of its nicknames in the Northern Hemisphere, and some notes about seasonal changes during that month.

“Let me tell you a story about the moon. That bright, round moon up there is called a Full Moon….People long ago kept track of the seasons by giving each full moon a special name.” A man with light-brown skin sits with a small, dark-haired, even lighter-skinned girl in his lap, open book before them. Behind them, a stylized version of a moonlit night sets the stage for more pages of full moons. The illustrations use strong, dark lines filled in with high-contrast blocks of color. A cursory glance invites a second look; a second look brings a discomfiting sense of the uncanny, as animals, plants, and humans are generally depicted in that nether world between realism and fantasy. A double-page spread of children gathering berries by moonlight is particularly eerie. The text is also a garbled mix of poetic imagery and snippets of natural science: “Thunder and lightning storms roll through the plains, providing strength for the farmer’s crops to grow.” What does that mean? Most pages keep the full moon gender-free, but it is given a male pronoun during April—as is November’s hardworking beaver. Most problematic of all is that there is no information about the “people long ago” or the culture or cultures from which these various names originated.

Trite text and overworked art detract from an interesting concept. (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: April 15, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58536-965-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 31, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2017

THE MOUNTAINS OF MUMBAI

Readers who’ve never been to Mumbai will want to visit while those who love it will smile.

An ode to urbanism and a love letter to India’s largest city.

When Doma, from Ladakh, a special administrative region in the disputed territory of Kashmir, visits her friend Veda in Mumbai, she misses the mountains of her home. “Tell me something,” asks Veda. “Do the mountains have to be exactly like the ones in Ladakh? Big, brown triangles?” Doma is incredulous; how else would a mountain look? Veda takes her friend by the hand and leads her on a tour of the megalopolis featuring views of both rooftops and a city street from above. Veda takes Doma up a seemingly endless spiral staircase and onto a terrace, from which the pair looks out on Marine Drive, a promenade and beach abutting the Arabian Sea. “Yes! Yes! Yes! We are on top of a mountain in Mumbai,” Doma cheers. Jain’s watercolor paintings are vivid and detailed, reveling in the bustle of the city. The unusual trim—double-page spreads measure 7 inches high by 28 inches wide—gives a sense of sweeping panoramas. One particularly effective spread demands a 90-degree turn of the book to fully appreciate the staircase the girls ascend. Veda and Doma’s journey is punctuated with recognizable landmarks (e.g., the Bandra-Worli Sea Link bridge), making this an excellent book for the armchair traveler as well.

Readers who’ve never been to Mumbai will want to visit while those who love it will smile. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-81-936542-9-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Karadi Tales

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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