This tender and accessible story of bravery and patience when facing a new situation encompasses a wide range of emotions...

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SATURDAY IS SWIMMING DAY

In this story about new experiences, readers follow a tiny girl who faces her fear of swimming every Saturday.

Trying something new can be scary. Saturday mornings seem to start with stomachaches, as a grumpy little Asian girl fakes illness to avoid going to the swimming pool. She clings to her mom and hides in a locker. Her body language clearly shows her to be uncomfortable and tense as she stands against the wall while other children of all shapes and colors dive right in. Things do not look promising. Week by week, without any pressure from her white mom, she returns to the pool and takes tiny steps forward with the black swim instructor named Mary. Mary guides her away from the pool’s edge and gently builds on small successes each Saturday. Illustrations, done in watercolor and colored pencil, show the blue waters of the pool framed by the cold white floor tiles. Colorful swimsuits, bathing caps, and skin tones splash the pages. Slowly, the narrator finds her fearful feelings begin to change. As the little girl’s courage grows, the floor tiles slowly disappear, and the pictures become all water. The unnamed child narrates, gender indicated by the style of her swimsuit.

This tender and accessible story of bravery and patience when facing a new situation encompasses a wide range of emotions for timid children of all shapes and colors. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: June 12, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9117-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 18, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their...

RUBY FINDS A WORRY

Ruby is an adventurous and happy child until the day she discovers a Worry.

Ruby barely sees the Worry—depicted as a blob of yellow with a frowny unibrow—at first, but as it hovers, the more she notices it and the larger it grows. The longer Ruby is affected by this Worry, the fewer colors appear on the page. Though she tries not to pay attention to the Worry, which no one else can see, ignoring it prevents her from enjoying the things that she once loved. Her constant anxiety about the Worry causes the bright yellow blob to crowd Ruby’s everyday life, which by this point is nearly all washes of gray and white. But at the playground, Ruby sees a boy sitting on a bench with a growing sky-blue Worry of his own. When she invites the boy to talk, his Worry begins to shrink—and when Ruby talks about her own Worry, it also grows smaller. By the book’s conclusion, Ruby learns to control her Worry by talking about what worries her, a priceless lesson for any child—or adult—conveyed in a beautifully child-friendly manner. Ruby presents black, with hair in cornrows and two big afro-puff pigtails, while the boy has pale skin and spiky black hair.

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their feelings . (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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An unfortunately simplistic delivery of a well-intentioned message.

I'LL WALK WITH YOU

Drawing on lyrics from her Mormon children’s hymn of the same title, Pearson explores diversity and acceptance in a more secular context.

Addressing people of varying ages, races, origins, and abilities in forced rhymes that omit the original version’s references to Jesus, various speakers describe how they—unlike “some people”—will “show [their] love for” their fellow humans. “If you don’t talk as most people do / some people talk and laugh at you,” a child tells a tongue-tied classmate. “But I won’t! / I won’t! / I’ll talk with you / and giggle too. / That’s how I’ll show my love for you.” Unfortunately, many speakers’ actions feel vague and rather patronizing even as they aim to include and reassure. “I know you bring such interesting things,” a wheelchair user says, welcoming a family “born far, far away” who arrives at the airport; the adults wear Islamic clothing. As pink- and brown-skinned worshipers join a solitary brown-skinned person who somehow “[doesn’t] pray as some people pray” on a church pew, a smiling, pink-skinned worshiper’s declaration that “we’re all, I see, one family” raises echoes of the problematic assertion, “I don’t see color.” The speakers’ exclamations of “But I won’t!” after noting others’ prejudiced behavior reads more as self-congratulation than promise of inclusion. Sanders’ geometric, doll-like human figures are cheery but stiff, and the text’s bold, uppercase typeface switches jarringly to cursive for the refrain, “That’s how I’ll show my love for you.” Characters’ complexions include paper-white, yellow, pink, and brown.

An unfortunately simplistic delivery of a well-intentioned message. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 17, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4236-5395-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Gibbs Smith

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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