Combining sharp political commentary with a simple design makes a large concept easier for the littlest (and our future)...

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WE ARE ALL DOTS

A BIG PLAN FOR A BETTER WORLD

A clever visual representation of socio-economic divisions and a call to overcome them.

The story begins with a single dot on the lower corner of the recto page. It calls out to the reader, “Can you see me? I’m down here.” It then goes on to explain that it has many friends. More dots appear. Then, even more, until the entire right-hand page is filled. These dots are thriving. They have housing (the dots position themselves into a city skyline), entertainment and leisure to enjoy it (they form a Ferris wheel), and food to eat (they become a hamburger). But suddenly, there is a dot on the left-hand side of the page. Its center is not filled in, so it looks a bit different. It, too, has lots of friends. More and more open-circle dots fill the verso side. But their lives are not as good. They do not have housing, leisure, or food to eat. They would like to come to the right side of the book. They start to crowd toward the book’s center, but the original dots agree they must come over in an orderly fashion. “Slowly. / Calmly. / Safely.” But now the right-hand side is much too crowded. The dots work together to find “another solution.”

Combining sharp political commentary with a simple design makes a large concept easier for the littlest (and our future) humans to comprehend. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7893-3429-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Universe/Rizzoli

Review Posted Online: Feb. 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Positively refreshing.

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HAIR LOVE

A black girl helps her dad learn how to give her the perfect hairstyle for a very special day.

Zuri’s voluminous head of hair “has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way.” She is pictured asleep with a large Afro framing her face. She is proud of her hair, which she sometimes wears in braids with beads like a princess and other times in pigtail puffs. But today is a special day. She knows Daddy is “worn-out” and probably needs a break, so she lets him sleep in while she looks up hairstyles on a tablet. When Daddy wakes and offers to help, he tries a series of hairstyles that just don’t work. Finally, Zuri grabs some hair supplies and shows him a tutorial. “Watching carefully… / Daddy combed, / parted, oiled, and twisted. / He nailed it!” Zuri is lovely and happy with her freshly done hairstyle, and when Mommy arrives to their “Welcome Home” sign, she loves Zuri’s look too. The digital illustrations feature details that feel just right: Zuri’s thick, textured hair, Daddy’s locs and tattoo, and dark-skinned Mom’s bright headwrap. While it’s unclear where Mommy is returning from (she is dressed casually and has a rolling black suitcase), this authentic depiction of a loving and whole black family broadens the scope of representation.

Positively refreshing. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55336-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself.

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THE DAY YOU BEGIN

School-age children encounter and overcome feelings of difference from their peers in the latest picture book from Woodson.

This nonlinear story centers on Angelina, with big curly hair and brown skin, as she begins the school year with a class share-out of summer travels. Text and illustrations effectively work together to convey her feelings of otherness as she reflects on her own summer spent at home: “What good is this / when others were flying,” she ponders while leaning out her city window forlornly watching birds fly past to seemingly faraway places. López’s incorporation of a ruler for a door, table, and tree into the illustrations creatively extends the metaphor of measuring up to others. Three other children—Rigoberto, a recent immigrant from Venezuela; a presumably Korean girl with her “too strange” lunch of kimchi, meat, and rice; and a lonely white boy in what seems to be a suburb—experience more-direct teasing for their outsider status. A bright jewel-toned palette and clever details, including a literal reflection of a better future, reveal hope and pride in spite of the taunting. This reassuring, lyrical book feels like a big hug from a wise aunt as she imparts the wisdom of the world in order to calm trepidatious young children: One of these things is not like the other, and that is actually what makes all the difference.

A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-24653-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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