Six kids with diverse talents and of diverse ethnicities team up to fix a broken fountain and discover its magic in this picture-book series starter from debut author team Chapman and Das, with vibrant illustrations by veteran Chua (How Nivi Got Her Names, 2017).
The fountain in the center of Gokul village has lost its former glory. Its pipes are clogged, and the orbs that decorate its rim are grimy. But to Zoya, Christopher, Riya, Dalai, Noelle, and Jacob, it’s a place that inspires them to create, all in different ways. All six have a special talent, and they meet at the fountain to enjoy their friendship. When the mayor threatens to cancel the New Year’s festival because the fountain is so old and broken, the kids restore their fountain, and it magically gives them each a wish—and a journey to different New Year’s celebrations around the world. Though each child has a different heritage, beautifully emphasized in the illustrations by their clothing choices, the architecture of the buildings in Gokul village, and the religious symbols they restore to the fountain, the text doesn’t make their diversity feel unusual. Instead, appreciating one another’s cultures is the norm. Oddly, the New Year’s celebrations listed happen at different times of year (Chinese New Year, Diwali, and New Year’s Eve), making the village’s resulting New Year’s celebration mixed up rather than multicultural.
The vibrant colors and kid-friendly character design are sure to draw kids; librarians and parents will applaud the celebration of teamwork and normalized cultural diversity.