Sensitive, stunning words and pictures speak directly to young hearts.

MY HEART

Lucid verse and transcendent monotype prints express how a heart can be “a window…a slide…closed / or opened up wide.”

Soothing, simple phrasing and masterful printmaking harness metaphors to make a heart’s complexity accessible to children just recognizing its many manifestations. Recurring rhyme provides an ideal cadence for reading aloud and also a reassuring assertion: Feelings can change from one moment to the next, your heart might sometimes be “cloudy and heavy with rain,” but just as the verse returns to rhyme, a heart can right itself. It "can grow,” and it “can mend, / and a heart that is closed can still open again.” Double-page spreads, inky with coal blacks and smudgy graphite grays, find luminosity and searing beauty through the introduction of a single color, an undauntedly optimistic ginkgo yellow that surges and glows. Pencil work adds specificity (freckles, eyeglasses, buttons, blades of grass) and sometimes emotional jaggedness (pelting rain, a steep, rickety slide). Young readers will see themselves in this impressive book’s children, kids of all racial backgrounds, who hide behind closed curtains, trudge through rain, extend a bouquet of small heart-shaped flowers, stand under the protective boughs of a wondrous tree. The final pages acknowledge a heart’s myriad, sometimes-incongruous roles (“a shadow, / a light, and a guide”) and joyfully assert our own, ultimate self-governance: “Closed or open… // I get to decide.”

Sensitive, stunning words and pictures speak directly to young hearts. (Picture book. 6-11)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7352-2793-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Celebrate a truly accepting multicultural character.

LOLA LEVINE IS NOT MEAN!

From the Lola Levine series , Vol. 1

Brown introduces a smart, young protagonist with a multicultural background in this series opener for chapter-book readers.

Second-grader Lola Levine is half-Peruvian and half-Jewish; she is a skilled soccer player, a persuasive writer, and aspires to own a cat in the near future should her parents concede. During a friendly recess soccer match, Lola, playing goalie, defends an incoming ball by coming out of her box and accidentally fouls a classmate. And so Lola acquires the rhyming nickname Mean Lola Levine. Through Lola’s first-person narration, readers see clearly how her savvy and creativity come from her family: Dad, who paints, Mom, who writes, and a fireball younger brother. She also wears her bicultural identity easily. In her narration, her letters to her friends, and dialogue, Lola easily inserts such words as diario, tía, bubbe, and shalom. For dinner, the family eats matzo ball soup, Peruvian chicken, and flan. Interspersed throughout the story are references to all-star soccer athletes, from Brazilian master Pelé to Mia Hamm, Briana Scurry, and David Beckham. Dominguez’s black-and-white illustrations are cheery and appealing, depicting a long-haired Caucasian father and dark-skinned, black-haired mother. Typefaces that emulate penmanship appropriately differ from character to character: Lola’s is small and clean, her mother’s is tall and slanted, while Juan’s, the injured classmate, is sloppy and lacks finesse.

Celebrate a truly accepting multicultural character. (Fiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 3, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-316-25836-4

Page Count: 96

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Though the lessons weigh more heavily than in The One and Only Ivan, a potential disappointment to its fans, the story is...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Google Rating

  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • google rating
  • New York Times Bestseller

CRENSHAW

Applegate tackles homelessness in her first novel since 2013 Newbery winner The One and Only Ivan.

Hunger is a constant for soon-to-be fifth-grader Jackson and his family, and the accompanying dizziness may be why his imaginary friend is back. A giant cat named Crenshaw first appeared after Jackson finished first grade, when his parents moved the family into their minivan for several months. Now they’re facing eviction again, and Jackson’s afraid that he won’t be going to school next year with his friend Marisol. When Crenshaw shows up on a surfboard, Jackson, an aspiring scientist who likes facts, wonders whether Crenshaw is real or a figment of his imagination. Jackson’s first-person narrative moves from the present day, when he wishes that his parents understood that he’s old enough to hear the truth about the family’s finances, to the first time they were homeless and back to the present. The structure allows readers access to the slow buildup of Jackson’s panic and his need for a friend and stability in his life. Crenshaw tells Jackson that “Imaginary friends don’t come of their own volition. We are invited. We stay as long as we’re needed.” The cat’s voice, with its adult tone, is the conduit for the novel’s lessons: “You need to tell the truth, my friend….To the person who matters most of all.”

Though the lessons weigh more heavily than in The One and Only Ivan, a potential disappointment to its fans, the story is nevertheless a somberly affecting one . (Fiction. 7-11)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-04323-8

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2015

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more