MY POWERFUL HAIR

A deeply moving and inspiring celebration of long hair and its significance in Indigenous cultures.

A Native girl reflects on hair, both her own and her family’s.

The young narrator’s Nokomis (Ojibwe for grandmother) and mother were not permitted to have long hair—her mother’s was deemed “too wild,” while Nokomis’ was shorn at a residential school. The phrase “Our ancestors say” repeats throughout as we learn that “stories and memories are woven” into the young narrator’s hair. Long Indigenous hair is a form of self-expression, honors ancestral knowledge, and is healing medicine, according to the ancestors. Littlebird’s (enrolled Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde) bold art matches the power of We Are Water Protectors author Lindstrom’s (Anishinabe/Métis, enrolled Turtle Mountain Band of Ojibwe) words. Crisp, striking illustrations reminiscent of woodcuts celebrate life and depict characters’ connections to Mother Earth as leaves swirl and splashes of vibrant colors dance across pages like confetti. Parents, siblings, grandparents, cousins, and aunties are included, making for a loving portrayal of a tightknit extended Native family. The stages of the protagonist’s hair growth serve as a timeline of events: When Nimishoomis (grandfather) taught the child to fish, her hair reached her ears; when her brother was born, it was shoulder-length. When Nimishoomis dies, the young girl cuts her hair to send powerful energy into the spirit world with him. As the book ends, the child decides to regrow her hair, and so does her mother. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A deeply moving and inspiring celebration of long hair and its significance in Indigenous cultures. (information on the importance of hair to Native/Indigenous peoples, Ojibwe glossary, author’s note) (Picture book. 5-11)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 9781419759437

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: April 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2023

CLAYMATES

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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