A positive tale of how a story can emerge organically from an inkling of an idea to an imaginative literary excursion—even at the hands of preliterate kids.
This story’s young, brown-skinned male protagonist admires his big sister, who loves to read and write “BIG words and (little) words, page after page.” But with just his “swirl after swirl. Squiggle after squiggle,” he thinks he can’t write a story. Like any good writing coach, his sister tells him: “Write what you KNOW.” Using letters and squiggles, he writes about a visit to the ocean, where he and his sister play soccer, see waves, and encounter a shark. His story looks like this: “I o U …. VvVVvv ^.” During show and tell at school, he shares his draft and gets feedback, which helps him finish the story. Lowery’s line drawings and use of frames and speech bubbles common in comics make this a lively story that keeps readers guessing. He paints the protagonist’s story in progress in pale green, bringing the child’s imagination to life. The story’s ending suggests a sequel—or several—that will perhaps illustrate the protagonist’s growth as both reader and writer.
This book offers a fine mirror for brown boys who aspire to write, but it’s also a great pro-literacy story for all children about brown kids who hold reading and writing in high regard. (Picture book. 4-8)