Though best appreciated by Catholic audiences, an excellent collection for a wide range of Christian believers

AS IT IS IN HEAVEN

A COLLECTION OF PRAYERS FOR ALL AGES

French illustrator Puybaret brings his lustrous soft-edged artwork to a new book of common prayer.

Opening with the Lord’s Prayer (Our Father), the selections chosen include biblical devotions, traditional prayers, and the prayers of saints, all largely in the Roman Catholic tradition. While Protestant audiences will feel the Our Father cuts off abruptly and might bristle at the Hail Mary, there is much to love for the faithful of diverse persuasions. At turns worshipful and introspective, the thoughtful prayers call for mindful compassion, empathetic living, and kindness, generosity, and mercy in the lives of believers. Puybaret, known for his whimsical, dreamlike style, brings that same sense of reverie to the real world in pensive vignettes. Particularly poignant is an illustration featuring a barefoot young man, surrounded by rubble and smoke but enveloped by a soft glow as he reaches out to a young sapling thrusting upward despite the chaos around it, which appears alongside St. Francis’ prayer for peace: “Where there is hatred, let me sow love / … / where there is despair, hope.” Though the prayers of saints are attributed to their authors, sources for scriptural prayers such as the Our Father and Magnificat are lacking references. Sadly, while there are some people of color depicted, most of the people in the illustrations appear white, even those based on Middle Eastern biblical characters.

Though best appreciated by Catholic audiences, an excellent collection for a wide range of Christian believers . (Picture book/religion. 4-10)

Pub Date: March 10, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-8028-5538-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Eerdmans

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children.

AN ABC OF EQUALITY

Social-equity themes are presented to children in ABC format.

Terms related to intersectional inequality, such as “class,” “gender,” “privilege,” “oppression,” “race,” and “sex,” as well as other topics important to social justice such as “feminism,” “human being,” “immigration,” “justice,” “kindness,” “multicultural,” “transgender,” “understanding,” and “value” are named and explained. There are 26 in all, one for each letter of the alphabet. Colorful two-page spreads with kid-friendly illustrations present each term. First the term is described: “Belief is when you are confident something exists even if you can’t see it. Lots of different beliefs fill the world, and no single belief is right for everyone.” On the facing page it concludes: “B is for BELIEF / Everyone has different beliefs.” It is hard to see who the intended audience for this little board book is. Babies and toddlers are busy learning the names for their body parts, familiar objects around them, and perhaps some basic feelings like happy, hungry, and sad; slightly older preschoolers will probably be bewildered by explanations such as: “A value is an expression of how to live a belief. A value can serve as a guide for how you behave around other human beings. / V is for VALUE / Live your beliefs out loud.”

Adults will do better skipping the book and talking with their children. (Board book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-78603-742-8

Page Count: 52

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2019

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