Targeted and right on target.

WHEN A KID LIKE ME FIGHTS CANCER

A child who has cancer learns what this means.

The first-person narrator, a kid with light-brown skin and curly black hair, begins the story with the diagnosis: “We get the news…I find out I’m a kid who has to deal with cancer.” No type of cancer is named. The text focuses gently around a learning theme: that cancer isn’t catching and isn’t anyone’s fault, that researchers far and wide are working on treatments, that “cancer is something you fight.” This patient has ample emotional support from parents, the medical team, and friends—the town even does a dedicated research fundraiser—and other child patients find moments in the hospital for silliness. However, fatigue and hair loss come along (a red hat is handy), and sometimes child and parent cry together, with sadness and fear unnamed but present. Chang plays with scale, making the kid tiny when enveloped in a parent’s arms and showing a bed as extra-long to emphasize its new primary role. Faces express a range of feelings but mildly, which will serve readers who have cancer (or who have friends with cancer) well. Mom has beige skin; the other parent (ungendered and tall) has medium-brown skin and curly black hair. There’s no prognosis, but the end hits a comforting note in the final item the protagonist learns: “I am not fighting alone.”

Targeted and right on target. (introduction) (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-6391-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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