Sweetly demonstrates how this traditional dance links the generations.

JOSIE DANCES

Josie, a young Ojibwe girl, looks forward to dancing in her first powwow, but she needs some special things before she’s ready.

This intergenerational story reveals the extensive preparation undertaken by the fancy dancer’s entire family to get ready for the biggest event of the year. Josie practices her dance steps for many months while the women in her family devote long hours to creating the regalia she will wear. She asks her mother to sew “a fancy shawl outfit.” She asks her aunty to bead her cape and her grandmother to bead her moccasins and leggings. Most importantly, she asks Grandma Greatwalker, “Will you dream my spirit name?” Each time, her elders respond in Ojibwemowin using the name appropriate to their relationship to her, a pattern that continues throughout. (A glossary is appended.) She practices all winter long, continuing when the “spring birds returned, and Juneberries ripened.” The day of the powwow finally arrives. Her excitement grows as she listens “to drummers practicing, the happy cries of visitors seeing family.” After Josie is dressed and ready, she receives her special honor. From Grandma Greatwalker’s dreams, Josie receives her spirit name: “Migiziinsikwe, Young Eagle Woman!” Colorful illustrations rendered in watercolor show the beauty and intricate patterns of traditional beadwork, birchbark baskets, and fine regalia. Both Lajimodiere and Erdrich are citizens of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

Sweetly demonstrates how this traditional dance links the generations. (map, author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-68134-207-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Minnesota Historical Society Press

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: yesterday

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Sincere and wholehearted.

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I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Good fun for all little ninjas and their parents.

NAUGHTY NINJA TAKES A BATH

After swinging out from the jungle after a long day of ninja-ing, Will makes his way home just in time for a bath. But as all ninjas know, danger lurks around every corner.

Even naughty ninjas get hungry, but Dad says, “Pee-yew,” and insists his little ninja get clean before going near a morsel. Ever the Naughty Ninja, Will follows his dad into the bathroom and immediately spies danger: Poisonous flies that have followed him from the jungle! As any parent would, his dad begs him not to say, “Ninja to the rescue,” because we all know what comes after a catchphrase…chaos! Through each increasingly rough rescue, Dad finds himself more and more defeated in his quest to complete bathtime, but ultimately he starts to find the infectious joy that only the ridiculousness of children can bring out in an adult. The art is bright and finds some nifty ninja perspectives that use the space well. It also places an interracial family at its center: Dad has brown skin and dark, puffy hair, and Mom is a white redhead; when out of his ninja cowl, Will looks like a slightly lighter-skinned version of his father. Kids will laugh at everything the dad is put through, and parents will knowingly nod, because we have all had nights with little ninjas soaking the bathroom floor. The book starts out a little text heavy but finds its groove quickly, reading smoothly going forward. Lots of action means it’s best not to save this one for bedtime.

Good fun for all little ninjas and their parents. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9433-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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