AWAY by Emil Sher
Kirkus Star

AWAY

by ; illustrated by
Age Range: 4 - 8
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A busy mother and child stay connected with notes as an important separation approaches in Sher and Leng’s debut collaboration.

Raiding the fridge for breakfast before school, brown-skinned Skip finds a sticky note from pale-skinned Mom, who has apparently already left, on the door: “Let’s have one more movie night before you go.” When Mom returns, a similar note awaits her in reply: “I’m not going. Not EVER!” Over the next few days, notes continue appearing from Mom as she readies Skip for an upcoming departure to sleepover camp, as well as notes with replies from Skip, who has no intention of attending camp. Alongside reminders for each other about buying milk, trips to the laundromat, and a visit from Mimsy (grandma), the family’s notes also contain a gentle tug of war as Skip adamantly insists that camp is out of the question and Mom patiently counters each concern. Sher manages to capture the familiar anxiety of a first-time camper as well as the quiet persistence of a parent’s reassurance as these succinct but affecting messages move steadily from unease to confidence. The sticky notes themselves move in and out of the limelight with each page turn as Leng’s breathy illustrations exude the easy energy of the characters while bringing their deceptively simple notes to full emotional life. The open ambiguity of the illustrations will allow readers to imagine Skip as either Mom’s biracial biological child or her adoptive child of color.

Untrammeled and honest. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 11th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-55498-483-1
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Groundwood
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2017




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