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A stirring story of perseverance.

Kids make their dreams come true.

A group of boys who live in Koh Panyee, a small Thai village raised above the water on stilts, are obsessed with football (what Americans would refer to as soccer). They “dribble…on the way to school” and even shoot “goals during evening chores.” On Saturday afternoons, they go to Uncle Hemmin’s cafe to watch football, cheering for every goal. Inspired, the friends want to practice so they can eventually challenge the boys who live on the mainland, but they don’t have anywhere to play. The evenly paced narrative reveals that every alleyway, pier, and walkway is already filled with busy adults with little patience for their ball playing. Even Uncle Hemmin tells them to “Stick to boat racing. It’s tradition.” A secret beach during low tide becomes their makeshift field until it is used for new homes. Frustrated, the boys decide to build their own floating pitch, hauling wood scraps and collecting nails and ignoring the laughter from villagers. Phumiruk creates dreamy scenes with soft hues of color to depict the boys slipping and falling into the water as they gradually improve their balance with their new and constantly “swaying pitch.” Their hard work pays off, as the team performs well at a mainland football tournament, in the process winning over the hearts of their village—and readers. An author’s note describes the real events that inspired this tale. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A stirring story of perseverance. (illustrator’s note) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 12, 2023

ISBN: 9780802855473

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2023

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A sweet and endearing feathered migration.

A relationship between a Latina grandmother and her mixed-race granddaughter serves as the frame to depict the ruby-throated hummingbird migration pattern.

In Granny’s lap, a girl is encouraged to “keep still” as the intergenerational pair awaits the ruby-throated hummingbirds with bowls of water in their hands. But like the granddaughter, the tz’unun—“the word for hummingbird in several [Latin American] languages”—must soon fly north. Over the next several double-page spreads, readers follow the ruby-throated hummingbird’s migration pattern from Central America and Mexico through the United States all the way to Canada. Davies metaphorically reunites the granddaughter and grandmother when “a visitor from Granny’s garden” crosses paths with the girl in New York City. Ray provides delicately hashed lines in the illustrations that bring the hummingbirds’ erratic flight pattern to life as they travel north. The watercolor palette is injected with vibrancy by the addition of gold ink, mirroring the hummingbirds’ flashing feathers in the slants of light. The story is supplemented by notes on different pages with facts about the birds such as their nest size, diet, and flight schedule. In addition, a note about ruby-throated hummingbirds supplies readers with detailed information on how ornithologists study and keep track of these birds.

A sweet and endearing feathered migration. (bibliography, index) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0538-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40.

From two Nobel Peace Prize winners, an invitation to look past sadness and loneliness to the joy that surrounds us.

Bobbing in the wake of 2016’s heavyweight Book of Joy (2016), this brief but buoyant address to young readers offers an earnest insight: “If you just focus on the thing that is making / you sad, then the sadness is all you see. / But if you look around, you will / see that joy is everywhere.” López expands the simply delivered proposal in fresh and lyrical ways—beginning with paired scenes of the authors as solitary children growing up in very different circumstances on (as they put it) “opposite sides of the world,” then meeting as young friends bonded by streams of rainbow bunting and going on to share their exuberantly hued joy with a group of dancers diverse in terms of age, race, culture, and locale while urging readers to do the same. Though on the whole this comes off as a bit bland (the banter and hilarity that characterized the authors’ recorded interchanges are absent here) and their advice just to look away from the sad things may seem facile in view of what too many children are inescapably faced with, still, it’s hard to imagine anyone in the world more qualified to deliver such a message than these two. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-48423-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

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