Naomi’s home—its sights, smells, sounds, and interactions—is forever a place of love.

EVERYTHING NAOMI LOVED

A community archive is preserved in a unique mural.

Community sits at the heart of Naomi’s life—evidenced by the city panorama on the title spread. Naomi, a beige-skinned young girl with straight brown hair and a big smile, pokes her head out the window to see her world, full of bustle and life. Cars, bicycles, and buses rush by, past the hair salon, the mechanic, the pizzeria. A ribbon of musical notes swirls around Naomi and her busy block, denoting the noisy joy of urban life. With her best friend, Ada, a Black girl, Naomi climbs a tree, rides scooters along the block, and draws pictures in sidewalk chalk. At dusk, Naomi and her family say goodnight to the lively neighborhood. All seems well until Naomi’s world begins to change. The tree is cut down, Ada moves away, and stores begin to shut—falling victim to gentrification and urban renewal. With help from her shopkeeper friend Mr. Ray, a Black man, Naomi paints what she loves most about her neighborhood in a mural on her building. Little by little, though her world has altered, her mural grows until at last her community is preserved in vivid colors. Yamasaki and Lendler’s straightforward yet poignant text nicely complements Yamasaki’s whimsical yet grounded illustrations that depict this portrait of urban connection. Her bright, bold palette is eye-catching, with carefully portrayed diverse neighbors, young and old. 

Naomi’s home—its sights, smells, sounds, and interactions—is forever a place of love. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-324-00491-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Norton Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2020

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The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE SCHOOLS

From the My Purple World series

A color-themed vision of what school should be like.

In what amounts to a rehash of The World Needs More Purple People (2020), Bell and Hart address adult as well as young readers to explain what “curious and kind you” can do to make school, or for that matter the universe, a better place. Again culminating in the vague but familiar “JUST. BE. YOU!” the program remains much the same—including asking questions both “universe-sized” (“Could you make a burrito larger than a garbage truck?”) and “smaller, people-sized” (i.e., personal), working hard to learn and make things, offering praise and encouragement, speaking up and out, laughing together, and listening to others. In the illustrations, light-skinned, blond-haired narrator Penny poses amid a busy, open-mouthed, diverse cast that includes a child wearing a hijab and one who uses a wheelchair. Wiseman opts to show fewer grown-ups here, but the children are the same as in the earlier book, and a scene showing two figures blowing chocolate milk out of their noses essentially recycles a visual joke from the previous outing. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43490-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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