From the The Capables series

A visual treat and a lively, child-respecting story of inclusion.

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Thinking differently leads a little girl to discover her secret superpower.

Lex is excited about her class trip to the science museum, but she’s anxious, too. Her brain works differently than other kids’, and she worries that she won’t be able to keep up if the visit requires a lot of reading. (In this standout picture book, children learn that Lex has dyslexia, which means she has difficulty recognizing words and letters.) At a display of famous mathematicians, scientists, and more, Lex struggles to read about Katherine Johnson, the groundbreaking Black NASA mathematician, while her classmates have already moved on. Her spirits rise when she is told how many brilliant, accomplished people were also dyslexic. And, when the class is stumped by a three-dimensional geometric puzzle, Lex realizes that “different” can be “super.” She uses her ability to process information as visual images to provide the answer. Expertly designed as a graphic novel for young children, the book features Perciante’s beautiful depictions of Lex’s world (Lex and her family are Black; her classmates and other adults appear ethnically, racially, and physically diverse). Rich with saturated color, the illustrations, some full page, incorporate strips of text and dialogue balloons. Following Rae’s First Day, a Kirkus Reviews best book of 2021, this is the second book in Jordan’s resonant Capables series, which is structured around the theme of inclusion and features children with disabilities discovering their “super-capabilities.”

A visual treat and a lively, child-respecting story of inclusion.

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-73645-805-1

Page Count: 44

Publisher: The Capables, LLC

Review Posted Online: Oct. 17, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2022


This delightful debut welcomes readers in like a house filled with love.

A 13-year-old biracial girl longs to build the house of her dreams.

For Lou Bulosan-Nelson, normal is her “gigantic extended family squished into Lola’s for every holiday imaginable.” She shares a bedroom with her Filipina mother, Minda—a former interior-design major and current nurse-to-be—in Lola Celina’s San Francisco home. From her deceased white father, Michael, Lou inherited “not-so-Filipino features,” his love for architecture, and some land. Lou’s quietude implies her keen eye for details, but her passion for creating with her hands resonates loudly. Pining for something to claim as her own, she plans to construct a house from the ground up. When her mom considers moving out of state for a potential job and Lou’s land is at risk of being auctioned off, Lou stays resilient, gathering support from both friends and family to make her dream a reality. Respicio authentically depicts the richness of Philippine culture, incorporating Filipino language, insights into Lou’s family history, and well-crafted descriptions of customs, such as the birdlike Tinikling dance and eating kamayan style (with one’s hands), throughout. Lou’s story gives voice to Filipino youth, addressing cultural differences, the importance of bayanihan (community), and the true meaning of home.

This delightful debut welcomes readers in like a house filled with love. (Fiction. 8-13)

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5247-1794-0

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Wendy Lamb/Random

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018


Charming, poignant, and thoughtfully woven.

An aspiring scientist and a budding artist become friends and help each other with dream projects.

Unfolding in mid-1980s Sacramento, California, this story stars 12-year-olds Rosalind and Benjamin as first-person narrators in alternating chapters. Ro’s father, a fellow space buff, was killed by a drunk driver; the rocket they were working on together lies unfinished in her closet. As for Benji, not only has his best friend, Amir, moved away, but the comic book holding the clue for locating his dad is also missing. Along with their profound personal losses, the protagonists share a fixation with the universe’s intriguing potential: Ro decides to complete the rocket and hopes to launch mementos of her father into outer space while Benji’s conviction that aliens and UFOs are real compels his imagination and creativity as an artist. An accident in science class triggers a chain of events forcing Benji and Ro, who is new to the school, to interact and unintentionally learn each other’s secrets. They resolve to find Benji’s dad—a famous comic-book artist—and partner to finish Ro’s rocket for the science fair. Together, they overcome technical, scheduling, and geographical challenges. Readers will be drawn in by amusing and fantastical elements in the comic book theme, high emotional stakes that arouse sympathy, and well-drawn character development as the protagonists navigate life lessons around grief, patience, self-advocacy, and standing up for others. Ro is biracial (Chinese/White); Benji is White.

Charming, poignant, and thoughtfully woven. (Fiction. 9-12)

Pub Date: Jan. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-300888-5

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Quill Tree Books/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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