With great read-aloud potential, this story could be used by both parents and teachers to introduce concepts of courage and...

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SUPER MANNY STANDS UP!

This charming story marries the mania for superheroes with a potent anti-bullying message, making it an apt tale for present times.

Super Manny, an imaginative raccoon child, after school regularly dons capes of various colors to battle everything from “an angry army of zombie bears” to “legions of alien robots with laser-beam eyes.” During school he sports an invisible cape that allows him to continue his victorious voyage through his world incognito. Throughout, he declares out loud to the world his own fearlessness and strength in words that children will want to echo. But his courage is tested when Tall One, a lunchroom bully, threatens Small One. Although Manny initially freezes, he remembers his superhero status and his invisible cape and commands the bully to stop. This startles the whole lunchroom of animal kids into recalling their own capes of courage, and they all collectively stand up for Small One, making Tall One beat a hasty retreat. The whimsical illustrations and antics of imaginative Manny (and his new porcupine friend, Small One) will delight children and their grown-ups even as they take in the playfully delivered yet deeply felt message of the importance of standing up for others. Speech balloons vary in size according to the confidence level of the speakers—a highly effective visual.

With great read-aloud potential, this story could be used by both parents and teachers to introduce concepts of courage and standing up to bullies from the youngest preschoolers up . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: July 4, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-4814-5960-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: April 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2017

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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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The title says it all: Black boys are “every good thing.”

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I AM EVERY GOOD THING

A much-needed book for Black children when society demonstrates otherwise.

The Kirkus Prize–, Coretta Scott King Honor–, Newbery Honor–, and Caldecott Honor–winning team behind Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut (2017) return for another celebration of Black excellence. In a text brimming with imagination and Black-boy joy, Barnes lays the foundation for young Black readers to go forth into the world filled with confidence and self-assurance: “I am brave. I am hope. / I am my ancestors’ wildest dream. / I am worthy of success, / of respect, of safety, of kindness, of happiness.” Simultaneously, he opens a window for non-Black readers to see Black boys’ humanity. They have dreams, feel pain, are polite and respectful—the list of qualities goes on. Barnes also decides to address what is waiting for them as they experience the world. “I am not what they might call me.” With this forceful statement, he provides a tool for building Black resilience, reassuring young Black readers that they are not those names. James supplies his customarily painterly art, his brushy oils painting Black boys of every shade of brown playing, celebrating, achieving, aspiring, and loving. Through every stroke readers will see that Black boys are “worthy / to be loved.” (This book was reviewed digitally with 11-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 35% of actual size.)

The title says it all: Black boys are “every good thing.” (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-51877-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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