Young readers will want to experience this book over and over again.

IF I WERE A TREE

Enjoy and observe nature with all your senses.

A family of color embarks on an adventure in the great outdoors. On their way to the campsite and when they get there, the children repeatedly declare, “If I were a tree,” then imagine exploring the world from the trees’ perspectives. They imagine seeing (“a web draped with dew, the dawn turning blue”), touching (“nests on my bark, bats hiding till dark”), smelling (“sweet honey and bees, and skunk on the breeze”), tasting (“waters that flood, and minerals in mud”), and hearing (“snakes in a hole, the sneeze of a mole”) their surroundings. As the children wander through the forest, the rhyming verses and simple text engage children in the fun. Readers will delight in the breathtaking illustrations. Double-page spreads are rich and vibrant, Tsong using the colors of nature to evoke a warm and inviting environment. The combination of printmaking and digital collage creates an abundance of depth and texture to each illustration. From an aerial view of a tiny tent in a vast forest to a close-up look at a dazzling spiderweb, the varying perspective reveals more and more with each page turn. Mom presents Asian, and Dad has brown skin, with one child taking after each; the book thus adds valuable representation to the nature genre. A concluding spread offers tree-related extension prompts.

Young readers will want to experience this book over and over again. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62014-801-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: March 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Heartfelt content for children who need to feel seen.

BEING YOU

Words addressed to children aimed at truth-telling, encouraging, and inspiring are accompanied by pictures of children of color going about their days.

“This story is about you,” the narrator opens, as a black boy looks up toward readers, a listening expression on his face. A multiracial group of children romp in a playground to encouraging words: “you are… / a dancer / a singer / in charge of the game.” Then comes a warning about the “whispers” out in the world that “tell you who you are / But only you and love decide.” There is advice about what to do when you “think there is nowhere safe”: “Watch a bird soar / and think, / Me too.” It asks readers to wonder: “If there was a sign on your chest / what would it say?” Children argue and show frustration and anger for reasons unclear to readers, then they hold up signs about themselves, such as “I am powerful” and “I am talented.” A girl looks hurt, and a boy looks “tough” until someone finds them “sitting there wondering / when the sky will blue.” While the words are general, the pictures specify a teacher, who is brown-skinned with straight black hair, as one who “can see you.” While young readers may find the wording unusual, even obscure in places, the nurturing message will not be lost.

Heartfelt content for children who need to feel seen. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-021-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more