A winning story of acceptance and love, especially for those who are different.

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HEART-SHAPED FRIENDSHIP

A child discovers that friendship can overcome the challenges of language and differing abilities in this debut picture book.

Hope, excited about the first day of school, is startled by a collision with a girl on a scooter. The rider, Summy, says, “Ooo... Eee…,” which her mother explains means “Sorry.” Hope finds out that Summy has trouble learning words. Their teacher devises a task. Each student will teach Summy one word, and then the class will have a Popsicle party. Because Hope and Summy love hearts, Hope decides to teach the word heart, but no technique works. When Summy overhears a conversation between Hope and a classmate, who says dismissively, “My parents told me everything about kids like her,” Summy’s feelings are hurt. After Hope rescues Summy, who’s stuck on a climbing wall, she apologizes for hurting the girl’s feelings. Summy then explains what heart means to her: love. Barros’ straightforward narrative style is from Hope’s point of view; the vocabulary is accessible to early elementary school readers. Although Barros never explains the reason for Summy’s difficulties, the descriptions of her eyes and speech—as well as a note that the author has a child with Down syndrome—indicates that Summy has the syndrome. Hope’s understanding and love for Summy, despite the prejudices of others, are a wonderful model of acceptance of those with different abilities. Dol’s beautifully detailed cartoon illustrations feature a diverse group of students.

A winning story of acceptance and love, especially for those who are different.

Pub Date: June 20, 2020

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2020

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A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself.

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THE DAY YOU BEGIN

School-age children encounter and overcome feelings of difference from their peers in the latest picture book from Woodson.

This nonlinear story centers on Angelina, with big curly hair and brown skin, as she begins the school year with a class share-out of summer travels. Text and illustrations effectively work together to convey her feelings of otherness as she reflects on her own summer spent at home: “What good is this / when others were flying,” she ponders while leaning out her city window forlornly watching birds fly past to seemingly faraway places. López’s incorporation of a ruler for a door, table, and tree into the illustrations creatively extends the metaphor of measuring up to others. Three other children—Rigoberto, a recent immigrant from Venezuela; a presumably Korean girl with her “too strange” lunch of kimchi, meat, and rice; and a lonely white boy in what seems to be a suburb—experience more-direct teasing for their outsider status. A bright jewel-toned palette and clever details, including a literal reflection of a better future, reveal hope and pride in spite of the taunting. This reassuring, lyrical book feels like a big hug from a wise aunt as she imparts the wisdom of the world in order to calm trepidatious young children: One of these things is not like the other, and that is actually what makes all the difference.

A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-24653-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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As ephemeral as a valentine.

LOVE FROM THE CRAYONS

Daywalt and Jeffers’ wandering crayons explore love.

Each double-page spread offers readers a vision of one of the anthropomorphic crayons on the left along with the statement “Love is [color].” The word love is represented by a small heart in the appropriate color. Opposite, childlike crayon drawings explain how that color represents love. So, readers learn, “love is green. / Because love is helpful.” The accompanying crayon drawing depicts two alligators, one holding a recycling bin and the other tossing a plastic cup into it, offering readers two ways of understanding green. Some statements are thought-provoking: “Love is white. / Because sometimes love is hard to see,” reaches beyond the immediate image of a cat’s yellow eyes, pink nose, and black mouth and whiskers, its white face and body indistinguishable from the paper it’s drawn on, to prompt real questions. “Love is brown. / Because sometimes love stinks,” on the other hand, depicted by a brown bear standing next to a brown, squiggly turd, may provoke giggles but is fundamentally a cheap laugh. Some of the color assignments have a distinctly arbitrary feel: Why is purple associated with the imagination and pink with silliness? Fans of The Day the Crayons Quit (2013) hoping for more clever, metaliterary fun will be disappointed by this rather syrupy read.

As ephemeral as a valentine. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 24, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5247-9268-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2021

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