Girl readers will come away embracing their best possible selves.


Inspired by a real-life child acquaintance of the author, this book aims to encourage girls of all ages to believe in themselves and know they are just enough the way they are.

Protagonist Jayla begins by inviting readers to a heart-to-heart conversation: “Okay, girls…I’ve got something to say!” She’s proud of her mixed African American, Native American, Asian American, and Latinx identity. She offers readers definitive steps to build confidence and self-trust, telling them not to listen to the negative messages they hear in their heads. “That’s called negative self-talk. It’s not good for you, and you don’t have to listen to it!” She goes further: “If your friends tell you those negative things, GET NEW FRIENDS!” Jayla suggests ways to practice positive self-talk, including a simple list of affirmations, and exhorts readers to embrace their unique characteristics. “They make you, YOU!” Robinson’s posterlike illustrations place images of the bespectacled, brown-skinned Jayla at the centers of compositions, disorienting, dark backgrounds containing the negative messages she spurns, including a bank of TV screens blaring such mottos as “Fair-skinned Girls are Pretty” and “Skinny is Best.” Other backgrounds resemble flower-power designs from the early 1970s; another literally depicts right-brain/left-brain strengths, with arithmetic equations on one side and exuberant paint splatters on the other. Jayla ends with a final piece of advice: “believe in yourself and be your own Best Friend forever!”

Girl readers will come away embracing their best possible selves. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-939053-34-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: 7th Generation

Review Posted Online: Jan. 26, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Instructive on several levels—and good, wet fun! (Informational picture book. 4-7)


Is it a universal truth that kids don’t like baths?

Maybe yes, maybe no. Children may not like the bathing experience at first, but they often don’t want it to end. By home bathtubs, communal baths, lakes, rivers, and even a mud volcano, cajoling adults say, “Yes, yes,” while unwilling children shout, “No, no!” These words, in many languages (in English transliteration) and their phonetic pronunciations (in a smaller font), are woven into the illustrations (and so are not always easily read). Exuberant illustrations, emphasizing aqueous blues and greens, are executed in oils with collage elements and finished in Photoshop. The unclothed young children and more modestly covered adults have different skin and hair colors, but the book starts in an unnamed country (the U.S.?) with a loving, brown-skinned mom summoning her reluctant child to an old-fashioned bathtub. The same adorable boy doesn’t want to leave the tub at the end and splashes his mom, who then cuddles him reassuringly in a towel. In between these familiar domestic scenes, a Japanese family lines up to use the ofuro, a square wooden tub; Turkish siblings go to the hammann, a beautifully decorated bathhouse; an Indian dad and his little boy go to the Ganges to “honor their ancestors”; and an Alaskan Yup’ik family visits a maquii for a traditional sweat bath. Although there is no map, there are lively explanatory notes.

Instructive on several levels—and good, wet fun! (Informational picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-58089-544-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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A lovely and needed story of familia in which love conquers loss.



Family love in the face of loss is poignantly shared by de Anda and Harris.

Luis, Mama, Papi, their dog, Sancho, and beloved Abuelo are one tight familia. When Luis gets home from school he spends the afternoons with Abuelo building models, learning to paint, and sharing stories alongside tasty snacks. As time passes, things begin to change. When Abuelo can no longer remember how to fit the models together, he and Luis can still paint side by side. When he forgets to turn off the stove, quesadillas transform into tasty PB&Js instead. But when Abuelo goes missing one day, it is clear things are changing quickly and will never be the same. What afflicts Abuelo is never explicitly identified as the story unfolds, tenderly told in simple first person from Luis’ innocent and loving perspective as he slowly confronts new symptoms of his grandfather’s progressive dementia. His mother gives Luis sage advice that even though Abuelo’s memory is slipping he will always feel Luis’ love. Though this is certainly a sweet sentiment, many dementia patients experience apathy and changes in personality along with their memory loss, so the truth of Mama’s words is somewhat in doubt. This is nevertheless a touching and well-told story of the heartbreak of memory loss through the lens of family-oriented Latino culture.

A lovely and needed story of familia in which love conquers loss. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-1492-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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