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WE MOVE THE WORLD by Kari Lavelle


by Kari Lavelle ; illustrated by Nabi H. Ali

Pub Date: May 4th, 2021
ISBN: 978-0-06-291685-3
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Small children learning and playing are juxtaposed with adults changing history.

Children say first words, take first steps, stack blocks, and write the alphabet. Older people walk on the moon, build historic landmarks like the Statue of Liberty, and write letters to the president to effect change. Children jump and leap and sing, adults record “We Are the World” to benefit world hunger, and Misty Copeland becomes the American Ballet Theater’s first African American principal ballerina. The children’s activities are narrated in a simple first-person-plural voice, easy to read aloud with little ones. The corresponding historical events and profiles are written in a more expository style better suited for older readers. While both storylines are worth reading, the combination makes the read-aloud experience less than smooth, although creative workarounds (like having children read the children’s parts and adults read the nonfiction parts) are possible. The adult achievements celebrated are progressive and diverse: Colin Kaepernick’s protest, Brazil’s Pride parade, Native American Code Talkers, and the AIDS Memorial Quilt are included, along with the Wright brothers, female Supreme Court justices, Mister Rogers, and the moon landing. Ali’s joyful illustrations successfully convey continuity between the children’s activities and the actions that changed history, infusing the narrative with an energy the text sorely needs to carry readers through. Endnotes provide further details about the events and individuals mentioned in the text. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 69.4% of actual size.)

A moderate success.

(timeline, notes, bibliography, resources) (Informational picture book. 4-8)