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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The true meaning of the holiday season shines here.

RED AND GREEN AND BLUE AND WHITE

Kids teach a valuable lesson about community spirit.

A city block is ablaze with red and green lights for Christmas; one house glows blue and white for Hanukkah. This is where Isaac, a Jewish boy, lives, across the street from best friend Teresa, excitedly preparing for Christmas. They love lighting up their homes in holiday colors. After an antisemitic bigot smashes a window in Isaac’s house, Isaac relights the menorah the next night, knowing if his family doesn’t, it means hiding their Jewishness, which doesn’t “feel right.” Artistic Teresa supports Isaac by drawing a menorah, inscribed to her friend, and placing the picture in her window. What occurs subsequently is a remarkable demonstration of community solidarity for Isaac and his family from everyone, including the media. Galvanized into defiant action against hate, thousands of townspeople display menorahs in windows in residences and public buildings. This quiet, uplifting tale is inspired by an incident that occurred in Billings, Montana, in 1993. Readers will feel heartened at children’s power to influence others to stand up for justice and defeat vile prejudice. The colorful illustrations, rendered digitally with brushes of the artist’s devising, resemble scratch art. Isaac and Teresa are White, and there is some racial diversity among the townspeople; one child is depicted in a wheelchair. An author’s note provides information about the actual event.

The true meaning of the holiday season shines here. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 19, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-64614-087-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Levine Querido

Review Posted Online: July 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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A small but mighty collection sure to remind readers that love, again, can prevail over all if given the chance.

I AM LOVED

In this collection, poet Giovanni seeks to remind black children especially that they are loved.

Giovanni carries the weight of the love that has sustained generations and united communities to her poems with amazing, succinct elegance. Standouts include “I Am a Mirror,” opposite which Bryan centers a real inset mirror against a colorful background of vibrant shapes amid natural landscapes. “I reflect the strengths / Of my people / And for that alone / I am loved,” concludes Giovanni’s ode to black ancestry and intergenerational resilience. “No Heaven” takes another heartwarming approach sure to incite genuine embraces among readers. “How can there be / No Heaven / When tears comfort / When dreams caress / When you smile / at me.” Recalling her earlier collection Hip Hop Speaks to Children (2008, illustrated by Kristen Balouch), Giovanni ends with the playful and reflective “Do the Rosa Parks,” a rhythmic and moving song about the power of sitting down to stand up. Outkast vibes run through it, though some readers may wish for an instructional cue. Throughout, Bryan’s bright tempera and watercolor paintings offer readers harmonious forms and flowing lines, smiling black children and adults arranged as if in tropically colored stained-glass windows. The two masters together deliver another powerful addition to their separate, award-winning catalogs.

A small but mighty collection sure to remind readers that love, again, can prevail over all if given the chance. (Picture book/poetry. 4-9)

Pub Date: Jan. 9, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0492-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 1, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2017

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