EVERYTHING CHANGES

A child experiences big emotions after their parents separate.

A loving family—Mommy, Daddy, and child—have a fun summer outing at the beach. Then, just as the waves wash in to claim the family’s sand castle, the parents say they won’t be living together anymore. The child is distraught, with feelings roiling inside them like the sea. The adults say, “Sometimes grown-ups separate….But parents are forever.” Autumn arrives, and then winter snow, and the child plays with Daddy at his new house and with Mommy on a sledding hill. The child continues to have big, sudden feelings about the breakup, but each time the parents provide reassurances that all emotions are valid. “We can’t stop our feelings, or the leaves from dropping...but we can catch them as they fall,” says Daddy. As the seasons change, life does as well (like Mommy having a new partner), and that knowledge frees the child’s mind. This book deftly compares emotions to nature and conveys the message that life goes on, ever changing and ever growing. The text and illustrations work harmoniously to provide examples and extend the metaphors. This one is ideal for young ones processing a big life change. Mommy is light-skinned, Daddy is brown-skinned, and the child has light brown skin; supporting characters display a wide variety of skin tones. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Tenderly nuanced. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-68464-494-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kane Miller

Review Posted Online: Aug. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2022

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THE STUFF OF STARS

The stories of the births of the universe, the planet Earth, and a human child are told in this picture book.

Bauer begins with cosmic nothing: “In the dark / in the deep, deep dark / a speck floated / invisible as thought / weighty as God.” Her powerful words build the story of the creation of the universe, presenting the science in poetic free verse. First, the narrative tells of the creation of stars by the Big Bang, then the explosions of some of those stars, from which dust becomes the matter that coalesces into planets, then the creation of life on Earth: a “lucky planet…neither too far / nor too near…its yellow star…the Sun.” Holmes’ digitally assembled hand-marbled paper-collage illustrations perfectly pair with the text—in fact the words and illustrations become an inseparable whole, as together they both delineate and suggest—the former telling the story and the latter, with their swirling colors suggestive of vast cosmos, contributing the atmosphere. It’s a stunning achievement to present to readers the factual events that created the birth of the universe, the planet Earth, and life on Earth with such an expressive, powerful creativity of words paired with illustrations so evocative of the awe and magic of the cosmos. But then the story goes one brilliant step further and gives the birth of a child the same beginning, the same sense of magic, the same miracle.

Wow. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7883-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Thoughts always inform actions; if we can help youngsters see individuals instead of differences, there’s hope.

WHAT IF EVERYBODY THOUGHT THAT?

From the What If Everybody? series

Thinking mean-spirited thoughts can be just as damaging as saying them out loud.

Javernick and Madden pair up once again (What If Everybody Did That?, 2010 and What If Everybody Said That?, 2018), this time to address bullying in a school setting. One hopes that all schools are diverse with regard to both culture and ability, but it can be difficult to help students see beyond differences. Javernick poses scenarios in which children exhibit varying physical disabilities, learning disabilities, medical conditions, and more. A group of children is often depicted scrutinizing one (four taller kids in gym class look to a shorter one, thinking, “He’s too little to play basketball” and “He’ll NEVER get that ball in the hoop”) as the titular phrase asks, “What if EVERYBODY thought that?” The following spread reads, “They might be wrong” as vignettes show the tiny tot zipping around everyone and scoring. If one sees someone using a wheelchair and automatically thinks, “Too bad she can’t be in the relay race”—well, “they might be wrong.” The (literal) flipside offered to each scenario teaches children to be aware of these automatic assumptions and hopefully change perceptions. Madden’s mixed-media illustrations show a diverse array of characters and have intentional, positive messages hidden within, sometimes scratched in chalk on the ground or hanging up in a frame on a classroom wall.

Thoughts always inform actions; if we can help youngsters see individuals instead of differences, there’s hope. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 27, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9137-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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