A great way to spark real-world conversations with other girls “like me." (Picture book. 4-8)

A GIRL LIKE ME

A book to inspire the next diverse generation of girls to keep working toward breaking glass ceilings no matter how often the world tells them, “A girl like you needs to stop.”

Johnson and Crews are seasoned talents whose collaboration here shines. Johnson’s spare words of encouragement are in harmony with Crews’ large double-page spreads blending photos of black and brown girls into a collaged dreamworld. Each of three girls is a star in her own dream only to hear people shouting in the background that what she wants simply isn’t possible. The illustrations show the three meeting on an urban playground and then encouraging other neighborhood girls of many races to join them in standing up to the doubters. There is much that Johnson doesn’t say that Crews uses pictures to illustrate. Adult readers may need to help children understand what is taking place in the story, at the heart of which is the power of play. Each girl is seen using her imagination to make her reality “better than the dream.” Illustrating this, a dozen girls in ebullient dress-up pose on the beach, all unapologetically themselves. A final spread allows each depicted girl to tell readers a little bit about herself—a sweet touch that drives home this reminder that girls should be supported in exploring their limitless imaginations, regardless of the naysayers.

A great way to spark real-world conversations with other girls “like me." (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5415-5777-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Millbrook/Lerner

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared.

IMAGINE

Former Poet Laureate Herrera encourages his young readers to imagine all they might be in his new picture book.

Herrera’s free verse tells his own story, starting as a young boy who loves the plants and animals he finds outdoors in the California fields and is then thrust into the barren, concrete city. In the city he begins to learn to read and write, learning English and discovering a love for words and the way ink flows “like tiny rivers” across the page as he applies pen to paper. Words soon become sentences, poems, lyrics, and a means of escape. This love of the word ultimately leads him to make writing his vocation and to become the first Chicano Poet Laureate of the United States, an honor Herrera received in 2015. Through this story of hardship to success, expressed in a series of conditional statements that all begin “If I,” Herrera implores his readers to “imagine what you could do.” Castillo’s ink and foam monoprint illustrations are a tender accompaniment to Herrera’s verse, the black lines of her illustrations flowing across the page in rhythm with the author’s poetry. Together this makes for a charming read-aloud for groups or a child snuggled in a lap.

A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared. (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9052-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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See, hear, touch, taste, smell...and imagine poetry all around you.

KIYOSHI'S WALK

A neighborhood walk unleashes the power of poetry.

Kiyoshi, a boy of Japanese heritage, watches his poet grandfather, Eto, write a poem in calligraphy. Intrigued, Kiyoshi asks, “Where do poems come from?” So begins a meditative walk through their bustling neighborhood, in which Kiyoshi discovers how to use his senses, his power of observation, and his imagination to build a poem. After each scene, Eto jots down a quick poem that serves as both a creative activity and an instruction for Kiyoshi. Eventually Kiyoshi discovers his own poetic voice, and together the boy and his grandfather find poems all around them. Spare, precise prose is coupled with the haiku Kiyoshi and his grandfather create, building the story through each new scene to expand Kiyoshi’s understanding of the origin of poems. Sensory language, such as flicked, whooshed, peeked, and reeled, not only builds readers’ vocabulary, but also models the vitality and precision of creative writing. The illustrations are just as thoughtfully crafted. Precisely rendered, the artwork is soft, warm, and captivating, offering vastly different perspectives and diverse characters who make up an apparently North American neighborhood that feels both familiar and new for a boy discovering how to view the world the way a poet does. Earth tones, coupled with bright yellows, pinks, and greens, draw readers in and encourage them to linger over each spread. An author’s note provides additional information about haiku.

See, hear, touch, taste, smell...and imagine poetry all around you. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 9, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-62014-958-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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