Girl readers will come away embracing their best possible selves.

BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND FOREVER!

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. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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A reassuring tale of patience and persistence that will especially resonate with kids recovering from injuries or illnesses.

MICHAEL ROSEN'S STICKY MCSTICKSTICK

THE FRIEND WHO HELPED ME WALK AGAIN

Rosen, now 76, describes relearning to walk with the aid of a cane after contracting Covid-19 and emerging from a medically induced coma.

Rosen didn’t meet the titular walking stick right away. Severely weakened, he “gasped and panted” when the doctors attempted to get him out of bed. He had to learn to stand and balance between parallel bars before transitioning to a cane (personified with googly eyes and a tiny smile), which he dubbed Sticky McStickstick. In the hospital, Sticky enabled him to walk the halls and navigate difficult stairs. But after Rosen returned home, Sticky sometimes “played hide-and-seek,” peeking from inside the washing machine or behind a snoozing cat as Rosen regained enough strength to ascend stairs gripping the banister and to make himself tea. At first, Rosen felt he’d “deserted” his trusty pal. But, he notes, even though he can now climb stairs without using the banister, Sticky waits by the front door “just in case,” a reminder of everyone who helped him to walk again. Rosen’s short, matter-of-fact sentences echo his step-by-step progress; Ross’ energetic, limber cartoon illustrations add humor as Rosen careens haphazardly through hospital hallways in a wheelchair and tenderness as Rosen walks unaided to meet his son’s family in the park. Rosen and his family present White; background characters are racially diverse. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A reassuring tale of patience and persistence that will especially resonate with kids recovering from injuries or illnesses. (author’s note) (Picture-book memoir. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-2532-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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

AROUND THE WORLD IN A BATHTUB

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 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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