Next book



This quiet yet touching story will open young readers’ eyes in a multitude of ways.

An elegant reminder that water is central to life.

Set on the sprawling Diné reservation, this beautifully illustrated picture book will educate young readers about the beauty and rigors of life on the high-desert plateau. Young Cody wakes up thirsty, but the cup near his bed is empty, as is the water bucket his mother relies on in the kitchen. His older siblings head off to catch the school bus, and Cody runs to check on the water barrels outside. It’s a scorching hot day. The land is dry. The horses, chickens, and dogs are thirsty, too. But Cody’s family, like many families on his reservation, do not have running water, and they must wait for the water lady, Darlene, to replenish their stores. Begay’s watercolors capture the mauve and pink hues of the juniper and piñon arroyos, bespeaking his #ownvoices knowledge of Navajo Nation. The velvet dresses, turquoise jewelry, and artwork on walls reveal a sovereign people with ancient ties to the land. With lyrical language and friendly faces emerging on each page, it is the image of the water lady, moving from her job driving a yellow school bus to her job driving a yellow water truck, that will stick in the minds of readers, revealing the conservationists’ spirit that still pervades in a simple Diné lifestyle. An author’s note addresses the fight for wells and more readily available water; it’s followed by a note from Darlene Arviso herself. A list of sources and a well-placed glossary seal the deal. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 39.3% of actual size.)

This quiet yet touching story will open young readers’ eyes in a multitude of ways. (author's note, sources, glossary) (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-525-64500-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

Next book


An authentic and moving time capsule of middle school angst, trauma, and joy.

Through the author’s own childhood diary entries, a seventh grader details her inner life before and after 9/11.

Alyssa’s diary entries start in September 2000, in the first week of her seventh grade year. She’s 11 and dealing with typical preteen concerns—popularity and anxiety about grades—along with other things more particular to her own life. She’s shuffling between Queens and Manhattan to share time between her divorced parents and struggling with thick facial hair and classmates who make her feel like she’s “not a whole person” due to her mixed White and Puerto Rican heritage. Alyssa is endlessly earnest and awkward as she works up the courage to talk to her crush, Alejandro; gushes about her dreams of becoming a shoe designer; and tries to solve her burgeoning unibrow problem. The diaries also have a darker side, as a sense of impending doom builds as the entries approach 9/11, especially because Alyssa’s father works in finance in the World Trade Center. As a number of the diary entries are taken directly from the author’s originals, they effortlessly capture the loud, confusing feelings middle school brings out. The artwork, in its muted but effective periwinkle tones, lends a satisfying layer to the diary’s accessible and delightful format.

An authentic and moving time capsule of middle school angst, trauma, and joy. (author's note) (Graphic memoir. 8-13)

Pub Date: Aug. 17, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-77427-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2021

Next book


From the They Did What? series

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats.

Why should grown-ups get all the historical, scientific, athletic, cinematic, and artistic glory?

Choosing exemplars from both past and present, Mitchell includes but goes well beyond Alexander the Great, Anne Frank, and like usual suspects to introduce a host of lesser-known luminaries. These include Shapur II, who was formally crowned king of Persia before he was born, Indian dancer/professional architect Sheila Sri Prakash, transgender spokesperson Jazz Jennings, inventor Param Jaggi, and an international host of other teen or preteen activists and prodigies. The individual portraits range from one paragraph to several pages in length, and they are interspersed with group tributes to, for instance, the Nazi-resisting “Swingkinder,” the striking New York City newsboys, and the marchers of the Birmingham Children’s Crusade. Mitchell even offers would-be villains a role model in Elagabalus, “boy emperor of Rome,” though she notes that he, at least, came to an awful end: “Then, then! They dumped his remains in the Tiber River, to be nommed by fish for all eternity.” The entries are arranged in no evident order, and though the backmatter includes multiple booklists, a personality quiz, a glossary, and even a quick Braille primer (with Braille jokes to decode), there is no index. Still, for readers whose fires need lighting, there’s motivational kindling on nearly every page.

A breezy, bustling bucketful of courageous acts and eye-popping feats. (finished illustrations not seen) (Collective biography. 10-13)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-14-751813-2

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Puffin

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2015

Close Quickview