In this wordless book, new girl Vanessa, shy and withdrawn, becomes a bully’s target after school and finally runs home in tears.
Another little girl sees it happen and is concerned enough to tell all of her friends, who also become concerned and wander home, sad for Vanessa. The observant girl stays up late, worrying, and the next morning, has the idea to go to Vanessa’s house and offer to walk her to school, which she does. They’re joined by one more kid, then another, and another, until a smiling throng accompanies Vanessa to school, with the bully skulking away. (Adult readers may recall a similar real-life scenario that took place at Baylor University in 2016, when a black student was racially bullied and then 300 students walked her to class.) In this book, Vanessa is black, and the protagonist has light brown skin and straight black hair. The bully is white, and the rest of the students are different ethnicities and races. Kerascoët’s sweet, charming illustrations do the talking in this book—no words appear, and none are needed. Each page is lovingly and respectfully drawn using a lot of white space, spare application of bright watercolor, and thick ink linework kept simple but loaded with impact and emotion. Tips for children on helping a target of bullying and language for adults to use when talking about bullying with children follow the story.
A wonderfully illustrated, hopeful book that can help caregivers tackle an emotionally fraught subject with even very young children. (Picture book. 4-8)