This sweet, gentle interpretation of an African American spiritual features a notably diverse cast.

HE'S GOT THE WHOLE WORLD IN HIS HANDS

The pages of this board book offer colorful interpretations of each verse of the traditional song.

The pictures feature diverse groups of family and friends engaged in child-friendly activities such as camping, picnicking, and celebrating a birthday together. The rhyming text, which will be familiar to many caregivers raised in the United States, can be either sung or read: For those unfamiliar with the song, the words are rhythmic enough to be interesting to read even without a tune. With the possible exception of a final cityscape, landscapes are mostly European or North American, though one double-page spread celebrating nature includes a mishmash of tropical, savanna, and temperate woodland flora and fauna. The lyrics are italicized and featured prominently but are also strategically placed so as not to interfere with the illustrations. Starting from the first page, the human characters in the pictures representing the lyrics are diverse in terms of skin color, age, ability, religion, gender, and body type. The artist uses a vibrant but not overwhelming palette and soft brush strokes to infuse each illustration with a soothing, playful feeling and to fill the characters with movement, expression, and joy. The level of detail in each illustration allows adults and kids alike the opportunity to discover something new every time they look at it.

This sweet, gentle interpretation of an African American spiritual features a notably diverse cast. (Board book. 2-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68010-587-2

Page Count: 16

Publisher: Tiger Tales

Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020

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Children of Abrahamic faiths drawn to this book’s bright, eye-catching illustrations will find a message of inclusion within.

GOD'S BIG PLAN

Diversity is God’s gift to his creation.

In this new interpretation of the biblical story of the Tower of Babel, readers are told of the descendants of Noah and how they lived together in the city of Shinar. The people were all the same; they looked alike, lived the same way, and spoke one language. They wanted life to remain that way; however, God had a different plan. He wanted his people to be diverse, and so he gave them many different languages, ways of life, and places to live around the world. The story continues with readers seeing the great diversity God created: different races, religions, and lands. Yamasaki’s stunning illustrations are colorful and rich, showing diversity in everything from types of homes to a wide array of foods to multiple houses of worship. Readers are taken from the world and people of ancient Babylon to diverse, modern children eating around a table, giving child readers the opportunity to relate to and see themselves reflected in the story. This is a provocative vehicle for introducing ideas of diversity to young readers. Questions to discuss with young children are provided that will allow readers to reflect upon the ways people are both different and alike. Although members and symbols of nonmonotheistic faiths are represented in the illustrations, neither primary text nor backmatter acknowledges that many of Earth’s peoples do not recognize this book’s construction of God.

Children of Abrahamic faiths drawn to this book’s bright, eye-catching illustrations will find a message of inclusion within. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: April 23, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947888-06-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flyaway Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2019

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Young children will enjoy this very basic introduction to a Jewish holiday celebration.

AROUND THE PASSOVER TABLE

It’s a festive Passover Seder for two families.

“With fresh springtime flowers and once-a-year dishes, / Two candles stand straight / See our grand seder plate / At our table for this seder night.” A white father, black mother, and their two children join an all-white multigenerational family for the spring Jewish festival of Passover. The narrator, the young son of the hosting family, describes the cushions on the chairs, the wine/grape-juice glasses, the special foods, the water for washing hands and the water for dipping greens, the afikomen for hiding, and Elijah’s and Miriam’s cups for two very special guests. All this is related with the cheerful refrain: “At our table for this seder night.” Those who observe and those who are unfamiliar with the many steps of the Seder will enjoy the details tailored to a young audience—the family pets join in as the celebrants sing “Dayenu,” among other side business. Readers hoping for more background information on Elijah’s and Miriam’s cups will be disappointed, however. The digital illustrations are lively and spirited, featuring many smiling faces and kippot on the men and boys.

Young children will enjoy this very basic introduction to a Jewish holiday celebration. (author’s note, glossary) (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: March 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-8075-0446-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Whitman

Review Posted Online: Jan. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2019

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