An artful plea for emotional acceptance. (Picture book. 5-8)

WHEN MOLLY DREW DOGS

Imaginations run quite literally wild for a young girl.

A measured, soft voice narrates, “On the night before the first day of school, a pack of stray dogs moved into Molly Akita’s head. / They were friendly. But a bit wild.” Molly finds the only way to manage her emotions, manifested as the rowdy pups that swirl around her room, is to draw them. Quickly the pack of canines run beyond her sketchbook onto moving boxes at home as well as onto the chalkboard and work at school. Her teacher, Ms. Shepherd, gets impatient, “but Molly’s dogs were stubborn. They needed to run free.” After receiving a teacher’s note, Molly’s grandmother hires a tutor, but he too declares, “No dogs allowed!” Grasping for control and acceptance, Molly runs, trailed by her sketched dogs and getting lost in the rain, and takes shelter in a shed. Pulling out her chalk, she draws coats for her companions. They in turn protect and comfort her when she grows fearful. Molly is Japanese, as denoted by her surname and dark hair and eyes. Xu uses darkly hued colored pencils that bring a textured somber tone to the story. In a twist, when Ms. Shepherd finds Molly, she tells her a robber was scared off in the area by coat-wearing dogs. With this validation, Kerbel deftly crafts a gentle argument for more empathy for others and yourself.

An artful plea for emotional acceptance. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77147-338-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Owlkids Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

Empathetic art and lyrical text blend for a touching and empowering tale.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

AARON SLATER, ILLUSTRATOR

From the Questioneers series

The latest book in the Questioneer series centers an African American boy who has dyslexia.

Roberts’ characteristic cartoon illustrations open on a family of six that includes two mothers of color, children of various abilities and racial presentations, and two very amused cats. In a style more expressive and stirring than other books in the series, Beaty presents a boy overcoming insecurities related to reading comprehension. Like Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas, the boy’s namesake, the protagonist loves to draw. More than drawing, however, young Aaron wishes to write, but when he tries to read, the letters appear scrambled (effectively illustrated with a string of wobbly, often backward letters that trail across the pages). The child retreats into drawing. After an entire school year of struggle, Aaron decides to just “blend in.” At the beginning of the next school year, a writing prompt from a new teacher inspires Aaron, who spends his evening attempting to write “a story. Write something true.” The next day in class, having failed to put words on paper, Aaron finds his voice and launches into a story that shows how “beauty and kindness and loving and art / lend courage to all with a welcoming heart.” In the illustration, a tableau of colorful mythological beings embodies Aaron’s tale. The text is set in a dyslexia-friendly type. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Empathetic art and lyrical text blend for a touching and empowering tale. (author's note, illustrator's note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 2, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-4197-5396-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more