An appealing snapshot of rough-hewn life that might well make kids appreciate washing machines.

WASHDAY

It’s washday. That doesn’t mean putting clothes in the washing machine and turning the knob or driving to the laundromat; it’s 1889, when it’s the old-fashioned way of getting clothes clean.

Lizzie and her doll, Amelia Cordelia, walk to her grandmother’s house to help because her Ma is soon to have a baby. The work is hard: boiling water in a big copper kettle; adding shavings of lye soap; sorting the clothes by color (whites for Sunday “go-to-meeting” clothes); using the broom handle to lift the hot clothing into rinse water; putting them through the wringer; and drying them on the outdoor clothesline. Taking a break with a glass of buttermilk, Lizzie is sad thinking about the doll tea party she was supposed to have with her friend that day. Surprise! Grandma has set the table for a tea party with special dishes and doll-size snickerdoodles and places for her best friend and her doll. Bunting evokes a homespun experience with emotions and details that the pencil-and-watercolor illustrations adroitly augment. Sneed neither whitewashes nor prettifies the harshness of the time; Grandma is a robust woman with hair in a bun and a big nose. Historical details like hairstyles and sturdy black shoes combine with phrases like “Grandma’s dog…has the misery in his back” to make the story feel genuine.

An appealing snapshot of rough-hewn life that might well make kids appreciate washing machines. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: April 1, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-8234-2868-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Jan. 29, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2014

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Heartfelt content for children who need to feel seen.

BEING YOU

Words addressed to children aimed at truth-telling, encouraging, and inspiring are accompanied by pictures of children of color going about their days.

“This story is about you,” the narrator opens, as a black boy looks up toward readers, a listening expression on his face. A multiracial group of children romp in a playground to encouraging words: “you are… / a dancer / a singer / in charge of the game.” Then comes a warning about the “whispers” out in the world that “tell you who you are / But only you and love decide.” There is advice about what to do when you “think there is nowhere safe”: “Watch a bird soar / and think, / Me too.” It asks readers to wonder: “If there was a sign on your chest / what would it say?” Children argue and show frustration and anger for reasons unclear to readers, then they hold up signs about themselves, such as “I am powerful” and “I am talented.” A girl looks hurt, and a boy looks “tough” until someone finds them “sitting there wondering / when the sky will blue.” While the words are general, the pictures specify a teacher, who is brown-skinned with straight black hair, as one who “can see you.” While young readers may find the wording unusual, even obscure in places, the nurturing message will not be lost.

Heartfelt content for children who need to feel seen. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-021-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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Wise and sometimes a bit wacky literary advice for the intergenerational family.

HOW TO READ TO A GRANDMA OR GRANDPA

From the How To... series

A pair of savvy grandchildren provides inspiration for family reading with their grandparents.

Like all good reading advocates, the children have thought of everything: where and how to choose books, where and when to read, and how to savor the good or not-so-good parts by rereading, discussion, and even acting out dramatic or humorous scenes. Overall, this double pair of siblings and perceptively keen elders ably models a love of reading. Amusing and endearing cartoon drawings colorfully depict a variety of other reading bonuses, such as book-inspired garden-bug investigations, science experiments, and moonlit backyard snuggles. Of course many of today’s grandparents are regularly involved in the care and nurturing of their grandkids, and many aspects of reading together are entertained, including silly ones like reading under the bed with a grandpa or a shared reading with long-distance grandparents via video chat. Making books part of everyday life is a steady message throughout. Within this quartet, the grandma has pale brown skin and the grandpa appears white, and one child’s skin is slightly lighter than the other’s.

Wise and sometimes a bit wacky literary advice for the intergenerational family. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-0193-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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