A lively read-aloud promoting the virtues of sportsmanship.

EVIE'S FIELD DAY

MORE THAN ONE WAY TO WIN

A competitive youth learns the value of kindness over victory.

Evie can run, jump, and hop the fastest, highest, and farthest. She also has the “trophies and ribbons” to prove it. Her love of accolades is what makes the upcoming Field Day so exciting. “Zing! Zing! Zip!” When it’s Evie’s turn at beanbag toss, she misses all three times. Everyone shouts, “Hooray!” for the winner. “Except Evie.” Next it’s “musical hoops,” and even though Evie can hop the farthest, Marty wins. Evie and her friends are largely portrayed in black and white with pops of bright colors in clothing, props, and accessories. The succinct text narrates as Evie attempts more carnival games: balancing a glass of water on her head, running with an egg on a spoon, or a balloon-stomping competition. Despite her best efforts she is still empty handed. Finally her “favorite event—the sack race” provides her a chance. “Evie jumped high, Evie jumped fast. Evie jumped far. She was winning!” Just then a baby bird in the middle of the route forces her to stop and quickly make a choice whether a ribbon or an act of compassion is more important. Teba infuses each scene with charm and energy. Within the black-and-white color schema, Evie has dark hair and medium-toned skin, and her friends are diverse. Resources on fostering sportsmanship follow the story.

A lively read-aloud promoting the virtues of sportsmanship. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-7330359-0-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Cardinal Rule Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself.

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THE DAY YOU BEGIN

School-age children encounter and overcome feelings of difference from their peers in the latest picture book from Woodson.

This nonlinear story centers on Angelina, with big curly hair and brown skin, as she begins the school year with a class share-out of summer travels. Text and illustrations effectively work together to convey her feelings of otherness as she reflects on her own summer spent at home: “What good is this / when others were flying,” she ponders while leaning out her city window forlornly watching birds fly past to seemingly faraway places. López’s incorporation of a ruler for a door, table, and tree into the illustrations creatively extends the metaphor of measuring up to others. Three other children—Rigoberto, a recent immigrant from Venezuela; a presumably Korean girl with her “too strange” lunch of kimchi, meat, and rice; and a lonely white boy in what seems to be a suburb—experience more-direct teasing for their outsider status. A bright jewel-toned palette and clever details, including a literal reflection of a better future, reveal hope and pride in spite of the taunting. This reassuring, lyrical book feels like a big hug from a wise aunt as she imparts the wisdom of the world in order to calm trepidatious young children: One of these things is not like the other, and that is actually what makes all the difference.

A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-24653-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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Sincere and wholehearted.

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I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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