A lovely multicultural story about a young friendship, celebrating culture and differences.

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MAYA AND ANNIE ON SATURDAYS AND SUNDAYS / LOS SÁBADOS Y DOMINGOS DE MAYA Y ANNIE

A childhood friendship and cultural acceptance are at the center of this authentic, special story.

In alternating first-person narration, Annie and Maya take turns describing their weekends: They play video games inside and in the backyard of Annie’s big home; in Maya’s little house, they help with the garden and play with her two dogs. When in Annie’s home, Maya is introduced to different foods: noodles, dumplings, and gai lan. At Maya’s place, Annie enjoys tamales, tacos, and pozole. The two celebrate a posada with Maya’s mother and Lunar New Year with Annie’s dad. Sometimes the girls fight, but they always make up. One Sunday, both families eat together, and the girls learn that their parents, Annie’s dad and Maya’s mom, are getting married. Muraida’s colorful, vibrant illustrations pay special, subtle tribute to the girls’ Latin American and Vietnamese backgrounds; spreads of the girls at their respective homes display culturally appropriate décor and patterns. Most strikingly, perhaps, two spreads depict the families sharing in each other’s religious and cultural celebrations: One displays a candlelit evening parade and children striking a piñata, while the other depicts another vivid parade following red lanterns and an undulating, festive paper dragon. Each page incorporates bilingual text for both English and Spanish readers.

A lovely multicultural story about a young friendship, celebrating culture and differences. (Bilingual picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 31, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-55885-859-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Piñata Books/Arté Público

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force.

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A young boy yearns for what he doesn’t have, but his nana teaches him to find beauty in what he has and can give, as well as in the city where they live.

CJ doesn’t want to wait in the rain or take the bus or go places after church. But through Nana’s playful imagination and gentle leadership, he begins to see each moment as an opportunity: Trees drink raindrops from straws; the bus breathes fire; and each person has a story to tell. On the bus, Nana inspires an impromptu concert, and CJ’s lifted into a daydream of colors and light, moon and magic. Later, when walking past broken streetlamps on the way to the soup kitchen, CJ notices a rainbow and thinks of his nana’s special gift to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.” Through de la Peña’s brilliant text, readers can hear, feel and taste the city: its grit and beauty, its quiet moments of connectedness. Robinson’s exceptional artwork works with it to ensure that readers will fully understand CJ’s journey toward appreciation of the vibrant, fascinating fabric of the city. Loosely defined patterns and gestures offer an immediate and raw quality to the Sasek-like illustrations. Painted in a warm palette, this diverse urban neighborhood is imbued with interest and possibility.

This celebration of cross-generational bonding is a textual and artistic tour de force. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Jan. 8, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-399-25774-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: Oct. 22, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2014

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