The illustrations’ muted colors and the poetic rhythm of the words slow the world down for remembering.

A Swampy Cree grandfather shows his grandson what it means to be connected to family and the land.

Moshom takes his grandson, the narrator, on a long journey to visit his boyhood home. He wants his grandson to see his family’s trapline, “where people hunt animals and live off the land.” To get there, they fly on a plane and go to a small house beside a big lake. “This is where we lived after we left the trapline.” They walk through a forest and see an old school building. “Most of the kids only spoke Cree, but at the school all of us had to talk and learn in English.” They travel in a small motorboat to an island, where “Moshom’s eyes light up.” He says, “That’s my trapline.” There are beaver dams and eagles and rock paintings. Moshom tells how everyone “slept in one big tent, so they could keep warm at night,” how even the youngest children had chores, and everyone shared the work. He tells how they caught muskrats, ate the meat, and sold the pelts “to buy…things you couldn’t get on the trapline.” Before leaving the island, the boy holds Moshom’s hand. His grandpa is quiet. “Kiskisiw means ‘he remembers.’ ” Swampy Cree words and their definitions conclude each page, summing up its themes. Robertson’s text is as spare as Flett’s artwork, leaving plenty of space for readers to feel the emotions evoked by both. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The illustrations’ muted colors and the poetic rhythm of the words slow the world down for remembering. (author’s note, illustrator’s note, glossary) (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-7352-6668-1

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Tundra Books

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2021



From the J.D. the Kid Barber series , Vol. 2

A strong second outing for Dillard and J.D.

Breakout kid barber J.D. embraces a summer of opportunity.

Readers met J.D. Jones just as he took his hometown of Meridian, Mississippi, by storm, winning himself community acclaim and a chair at the revered Hart and Sons barbershop in series opener J.D. and the Great Barber Battle(2021). What’s next for the haircut prodigy? School’s just getting out, and there’s so much life happening outside—if only one can escape home learning with the grandparents. J.D.’s sister, Vanessa, brings along multitalented mutual friend Jessyka to share an ambitious challenge: “Let’s start a YouTube channel!” Can they get millions of views and wow the whole world? They are already amazing at haircuts and hairstyles—all they need is to learn how to make a great YouTube video. The story models strategies for scripting short videos reflecting the templates of viral YouTube hair tutorials, inviting readers to not only see the journey of the characters, but maybe also practice these skills at home. This book is bound to educate all about some of the most storied and cherished traditions within the Black community. Bringing in Vanessa is a great touch to extend the series across gender, and hopefully she’ll get a chance to lead her own adventures. This book blends skill-building, entrepreneurship, and strong family values to give young Black children visions of what’s possible when they follow their passions and embrace their community.

A strong second outing for Dillard and J.D. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11155-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021



From the Rafi and Rosi series

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape.

The fourth installment in Delacre’s early-reader series centers on the rich musical traditions of Puerto Rico, once again featuring sibling tree frogs Rafi and Rosi Coquí.

Readers learn along with Rafi and Rosi as they explore bomba, plena, and salsa in three chapters. A glossary at the beginning sets readers up well to understand the Spanish vocabulary, including accurate phoneticization for non-Spanish speakers. The stories focus on Rafi and Rosi’s relationship within a musical context. For example, in one chapter Rafi finds out that he attracts a larger audience playing his homemade güiro with Rosi’s help even though he initially excluded her: “Big brothers only.” Even when he makes mistakes, as the older brother, Rafi consoles Rosi when she is embarrassed or angry at him. In each instance, their shared joy for music and dance ultimately shines through any upsets—a valuable reflection of unity. Informational backmatter and author’s sources are extensive. Undoubtedly these will help teachers, librarians, and parents to develop Puerto Rican cultural programs, curriculum, or home activities to extend young readers’ learning. The inclusion of instructions to make one’s own homemade güiro is a thoughtful addition. The Spanish translation, also by Delacre and published simultaneously, will require a more advanced reader than the English one to recognize and comprehend contractions (“pa’bajo-pa-pa’rriba”) and relatively sophisticated vocabulary.

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape. (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-89239-429-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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