Cohen uses tongue-in-cheek humor to slyly point out to kids that not everything they are told about school is true; here’s...

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EVA AND SADIE AND THE BEST CLASSROOM EVER!

From the Eva and Sadie series

An older sister is determined to make sure her little sis is ready for kindergarten…even if it kills her.

Sadie is starting second grade, so she’s an old pro at school, and she’s just the person to make sure that Eva is prepared. After all, kindergarten is way different from preschool: there are no naps, there are choices to make at lunchtime, and there’s so much to learn. So Sadie keeps Eva from napping on the weekends and makes use of their home classroom, complete with desks and a blackboard, to quiz, drill, and teach her poor frazzled sister, whose facial expressions, posture, and riot of curls clearly reflect her every feeling—and those feelings are not good. Sadie’s parents gently point out Sadie’s missteps, and she feels bad about making Eva so upset. When the first day finally arrives, though, Eva proves more than ready to tackle it, and her sister’s lessons are not the key. Allen’s illustrations, done in pencil, watercolor, and a touch of Photoshop, are a delight. Eva is adorably enthusiastic about life, while Sadie is just over-the-top, a pint-sized drill sergeant.

Cohen uses tongue-in-cheek humor to slyly point out to kids that not everything they are told about school is true; here’s hoping they will take his message to heart. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-06-224938-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 12, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2015

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Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

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A celebration of identity, family and belonging.

ALMA AND HOW SHE GOT HER NAME

Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela has a very long name, and she’s about to find out how she came to have it.

Alma is a cute little girl with the sweetest pair of striped red-and-white pants ever. She also happens to have a very long name—so long, in fact, that it never fits. Her father sits her down to tell her the story of her name, “Then you decide if it fits.” And so Alma learns about her grandmother Sofia; her great-grandmother Esperanza; her grandfather José; her great-aunt Pura; and her other grandmother Candela. And Alma? She learns Alma was picked just for her. “You will make your own story.” Peruvian-born Martinez-Neal never expresses it in the text, but the illustrations are filled with references to Peru, the country where Alma’s family comes from. Mostly monochromatic against a cream background, the illustrations—print transfers with graphite and colored pencils—are delightful, capturing the distinctive essences of Alma’s many namesakes. Alma is depicted as the color of the paper background, with pink cheeks and a black bob haircut. Whereas the story starts with Alma’s name written in a childish print on a piece of paper that needs an extra piece of paper taped to it, the story ends with Alma’s name in grand and elegant display types. That’s her name, and it fits her just right! A Spanish edition, Alma y cómo obtuvo su nombre, publishes simultaneously.

A celebration of identity, family and belonging. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 10, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9355-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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