This beautiful story grasps diversity, exploring resilience, love, friendship, and the meaning of home.

READ REVIEW

SALMA THE SYRIAN CHEF

When Salma and her mom move from the refugee camp to Canada, they seem to leave joy behind with Papa.

Back in the camp, her mom giggled with her friends all the time, but now, in Vancouver, she hardly laughs at all. They both miss Papa and hope he’ll join them soon. Salma and her mom live in the Welcome Center with other newcomers. When she shares her quest to make Mama laugh with one of the helpers, Nancy suggests that Salma draw her good memories for inspiration. As Salma illustrates her home in Damascus and her parents eating a dish of foul shami, she has an idea! “I think Mama misses Syrian food….I want to make her foul shami.” However, she doesn’t know the recipe, let alone the English words for any of the needed vegetables. Setting many vignettes in an eight-pointed star-shaped frame, Bron fills the pages with careful detail and glimpses of different cultures and places, including Vancouver. At the Welcome Center, Salma and readers meet children from Egypt, India, and Venezuela; a translator from Jordan; a gay couple from Lebanon; and others from Canada, Somalia, and Iran. With creativity and help from friends, Salma moves ahead with her plan, but so many things go wrong. The story ends with a lovely surprise and, of course, a big laugh from Mama.

This beautiful story grasps diversity, exploring resilience, love, friendship, and the meaning of home. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-375-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Droll humor that’s sure to elicit guffaws.

PLEASE DON'T EAT ME

A bunny negotiates with a bear to avoid becoming lunch.

Burrowing along happily through the soil, a tiny white rabbit is stopped short by the beauty of a daisy. Unfortunately, a bear steps out from behind a tree at precisely the same moment. There’s no mistaking the bunny’s disappointment at the timing of the situation: “Aw, nuts.” The bear is hungry, so the quick-thinking rabbit proposes ordering a pizza. The pair share a pie, but before the bunny can leave, Bear muses, “It just doesn’t feel like a meal without dessert.” Will the bunny be dessert?! No. A chuckleworthy page turn reveals the two sharing a milkshake with giant twisty straws. Bear has many other ways of delaying the bunny’s departure until finally, the bunny loses patience: “Fine. That’s it! Just eat me already!” Flopped on a bed of greens, the bunny presents itself as a meal. But Bear has another option—perhaps they could be friends instead. The dumpy little rabbit mirrors Bear’s rotund frame; both state their arguments with deadpan precision. However, via tiny adjustments in body language, Climo masterfully includes a ton of expression behind the two protagonists’ tiny dotted eyes. Minimalist cartoon backgrounds keep the focus on the developing relationship.

Droll humor that’s sure to elicit guffaws. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-316-31525-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more