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

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Vital information for young media consumers; it couldn’t be timelier.

FACTS VS. OPINIONS VS. ROBOTS

Charismatic robots populate this primer for kids growing up in an era when facts are considered debatable and opinions are oft expressed loudly and without empathy.

Rex tackles a very serious topic infrequently addressed in kids’ books: how to tell the difference between provable facts and far-less-provable opinions. To do this, Rex employs a handful of colorful and chatty robot pals who run through enough examples to make the distinctions clear. For instance, it’s a fact that the blue robot has two arms while the gold robot has four. However, while they both like to dance, it’s less certain there’s a definitive answer to the question: “Which of them has the coolest moves?” When the green and yellow robots share their preferences for ice cream (yes, robots eat ice cream, just add oil or nuts and bolts), it turns into a fight that might have come off a Twitter thread (“We are getting chocolate!” “No way, buckethead!”). Via a series of reboots, the robots learn how to respect opinions and engage in compromise. It’s a welcome use of skill-building to counter an information landscape filled with calls of “Fake news!” and toxic online discourse. Rex never says that these ’bots sometimes act like social media bots when they disagree, but he doesn’t have to. Perhaps most importantly, Rex’s robots demonstrate that in the absence of enough information, it’s perfectly fine to wait before acting.

Vital information for young media consumers; it couldn’t be timelier. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1626-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments.

SUPERHEROES ARE EVERYWHERE

The junior senator from California introduces family and friends as everyday superheroes.

The endpapers are covered with cascades of, mostly, early childhood snapshots (“This is me contemplating the future”—caregivers of toddlers will recognize that abstracted look). In between, Harris introduces heroes in her life who have shaped her character: her mom and dad, whose superpowers were, respectively, to make her feel special and brave; an older neighbor known for her kindness; grandparents in India and Jamaica who “[stood] up for what’s right” (albeit in unspecified ways); other relatives and a teacher who opened her awareness to a wider world; and finally iconic figures such as Thurgood Marshall and Constance Baker Motley who “protected people by using the power of words and ideas” and whose examples inspired her to become a lawyer. “Heroes are…YOU!” she concludes, closing with a bulleted Hero Code and a timeline of her legal and political career that ends with her 2017 swearing-in as senator. In group scenes, some of the figures in the bright, simplistic digital illustrations have Asian features, some are in wheelchairs, nearly all are people of color. Almost all are smiling or grinning. Roe provides everyone identified as a role model with a cape and poses the author, who is seen at different ages wearing an identifying heart pin or decoration, next to each.

Self-serving to be sure but also chock-full of worthy values and sentiments. (Picture book/memoir. 5-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-984837-49-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: Jan. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more