This poignant and entertaining tale about a playful toddler aimed at young lap readers works on a much deeper level for...

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#BabyLove: My Toddler Life

From the #BabyLove series , Vol. 2

In her latest picture book, Dehghanpisheh (#BabyLove: My Social Life, 2016, etc.) shows the life of a curious child through the frame of the cellphone used to take his photo—until he gets his hands on the device.

The hero of the #BabyLove tales, now a tanned toddler, obviously has a mother who loves him. While he’s creating his art, she’s taking a photo of his paint-splattered smock. (The dog, with paint-dripped ears, looks less impressed.) After the art lesson, there’s reading and toy time, followed by a drumming session. Each shot features a view of the boy framed by his mother’s phone. Mother and son take a smiling selfie together, posting it to friends with the hashtag #mommyandme. With so much activity around the phone, it’s no surprise that the boy wants to experiment with it himself, so when Mommy leaves it on the counter, even though he knows better, he picks it up. First, he pretends he’s making a real phone call; then, he starts taking selfies. His huge smile shows how much fun he’s having: “I hold a button, and then say ‘Cheese.’ / I click, click, click, click with such ease.” When he hears Mommy coming, though, he drops the phone and makes a run for it. But rather than becoming angry, Mommy takes time to look at the photos with him, showing him the parts of his face in each shot as well as family pictures. And as Mommy looks at these photos, she realizes just how precious time with her wee one is. When they return to playing together, Mommy puts the phone down so she can fully engage with her son. With simple rhyming phrases that scan well and the author’s enticing illustrations, the volume should surely appeal to young readers, who have almost certainly been told not to play with a parent’s phone. But the book works on another level as well: the boy teaches his mother a valuable lesson about mindfulness. After perusing the old photos, she tells her son: “These moments with you, / I love and treasure.” This stirring story reminds busy parents that even though those photos they take show how much they love their children, there’s joy and wonder in leaving the technology behind.

This poignant and entertaining tale about a playful toddler aimed at young lap readers works on a much deeper level for parents.

Pub Date: Sept. 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9978985-1-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Dec. 6, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this...

HOLES

Sentenced to a brutal juvenile detention camp for a crime he didn't commit, a wimpy teenager turns four generations of bad family luck around in this sunburnt tale of courage, obsession, and buried treasure from Sachar (Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, 1995, etc.).

Driven mad by the murder of her black beau, a schoolteacher turns on the once-friendly, verdant town of Green Lake, Texas, becomes feared bandit Kissin' Kate Barlow, and dies, laughing, without revealing where she buried her stash. A century of rainless years later, lake and town are memories—but, with the involuntary help of gangs of juvenile offenders, the last descendant of the last residents is still digging. Enter Stanley Yelnats IV, great-grandson of one of Kissin' Kate's victims and the latest to fall to the family curse of being in the wrong place at the wrong time; under the direction of The Warden, a woman with rattlesnake venom polish on her long nails, Stanley and each of his fellow inmates dig a hole a day in the rock-hard lake bed. Weeks of punishing labor later, Stanley digs up a clue, but is canny enough to conceal the information of which hole it came from. Through flashbacks, Sachar weaves a complex net of hidden relationships and well-timed revelations as he puts his slightly larger-than-life characters under a sun so punishing that readers will be reaching for water bottles.

Good Guys and Bad get just deserts in the end, and Stanley gets plenty of opportunities to display pluck and valor in this rugged, engrossing adventure. (Fiction. 9-13)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 978-0-374-33265-5

Page Count: 233

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2000

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Essential.

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THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST

20 LESSONS ON HOW TO WAKE UP, TAKE ACTION, AND DO THE WORK

A guidebook for taking action against racism.

The clear title and bold, colorful illustrations will immediately draw attention to this book, designed to guide each reader on a personal journey to work to dismantle racism. In the author’s note, Jewell begins with explanations about word choice, including the use of the terms “folx,” because it is gender neutral, and “global majority,” noting that marginalized communities of color are actually the majority in the world. She also chooses to capitalize Black, Brown, and Indigenous as a way of centering these communities’ voices; "white" is not capitalized. Organized in four sections—identity, history, taking action, and working in solidarity—each chapter builds on the lessons of the previous section. Underlined words are defined in the glossary, but Jewell unpacks concepts around race in an accessible way, bringing attention to common misunderstandings. Activities are included at the end of each chapter; they are effective, prompting both self-reflection and action steps from readers. The activities are designed to not be written inside the actual book; instead Jewell invites readers to find a special notebook and favorite pen and use that throughout. Combining the disruption of common fallacies, spotlights on change makers, the author’s personal reflections, and a call to action, this powerful book has something for all young people no matter what stage they are at in terms of awareness or activism.

Essential. (author’s note, further reading, glossary, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4521-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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