In today’s political climate, a book on this topic can be very important, but this one misses the mark in spite of some of...

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W IS FOR WELCOME

A CELEBRATION OF AMERICA'S DIVERSITY

From the Sleeping Bear Alphabet Books series

A celebration of diversity in the United States in pictures, poetry, and prose.

Mediocre but accessible five-line poems and explanatory text could serve a variety of audiences, as both a poetry read-aloud and a nonfiction text that might spur kids to do more research, if only there were some sources listed. The quality of the paintings and drawings by “nationally acclaimed” artists really varies, from Doug Bowles’ sensitive portrait in pastels of Emma Lazarus with an abstract Statue of Liberty crown, on the “P is for Poem” page, to Laura Knorr’s old-fashioned stereotypical international children on the “C is for Cultures” and the “D is for Diversity” double-page spread. Middle graders will start to understand some important issues surrounding immigrants (both documented and undocumented) and refugees, but without a chronological framework, young people will have a difficult time grasping the real historical significance of diversity in the U.S. In this “Celebration of America’s Diversity” the author has barely scratched the surface of anti-immigrant feeling in the U.S., with one paragraph on the “E is for Ellis Island” page mentioning anti-Asian laws and the detainment policies that kept some people on Angel Island for years.

In today’s political climate, a book on this topic can be very important, but this one misses the mark in spite of some of the interesting facts it contains. (Informational picture book/poetry. 7-11)

Pub Date: April 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58536-402-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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A timely, necessary read.

LA FRONTERA

EL VIAJE CON PAPÁ / MY JOURNEY WITH PAPA

Co-authors Mills and Alva demystify la frontera in this autobiographical tale based on Alva’s childhood journey with his father from Mexico to Texas.

To provide for his growing family, Alfredo’s father decides to journey northward to “find a new home.” Alfredo joins his papá on this arduous voyage, knowing he’ll miss his family and his small village. After saying goodbye to his home and loved ones, Alfredo sets off in the early morning light alongside his father. Led to the Rio Grande by el coyote, Papa and Alfredo cross the river with the help of an old inner tube. When el coyote abandons Alfredo and his father, the pair must escape further into the harsh Texan landscape, away from la frontera. Presented in both Spanish and English, the retrospective narrative overflows with grueling, poignant details about the journey Alfredo and his father undertook. Yet Navarro’s mixed-media artwork succeeds in emphasizing the more-hopeful aspects of Alva’s story, namely love and strength in a familial context. Vivid shifts in color, light, and shadows from scene to scene gently pull readers along, complemented by powerful facial expressions during key moments. After almost a week of struggles, Alfredo and his father arrive at “the Embassy,” a makeshift camp behind a factory. As father and son adjust to their new life in the U.S., they never forget about those left behind.

A timely, necessary read. (appendix) (Picture book. 8-11)

Pub Date: May 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-78285-388-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Barefoot

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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While this book and its companion appear to be meant for the lower elementary grades, these British imports will require too...

REFUGEES AND MIGRANTS

From the Children in Our World series

With this series entry, Roberts attempts to help readers understand that their peers in many parts of the world are suffering and becoming refugees because of “wars, natural disasters, and acts of terrorism.”

The book also speaks about migrants as people who “leave for a happier, healthier life, to join family members overseas, or because they don’t have enough money and need a job.” This effort aims to educate child readers, reassuring them that “most people have a safe and comfortable home to live in” and while “it can be upsetting to think about what life is like for refugees and migrants,” kids can do something to help. Some practical suggestions are provided and websites included for several aid organizations. Companion title Poverty and Hunger, by Louise Spilsbury and also illustrated by Kai, follows the same format, presenting a double-page spread with usually one to three short paragraphs on a topic. A yellow catlike animal with a black-and-white striped tail is found in every picture in both books and seems an odd unifying feature. Mixed-media illustrations in muted colors feature stylized children and adults against handsomely textured areas; they exude an empty sense of unreality in spite of racial diversity and varied landscapes. By trying too hard to make comparisons accessible, Roberts ends up trivializing some concepts. Speaking about camping and refugee camps in the same sentence is very misleading.

While this book and its companion appear to be meant for the lower elementary grades, these British imports will require too much adult intervention to be very useful. (bibliography, websites, glossary, index) (Informational picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4380-5020-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Barron's

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2017

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