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Like a love poem, this story will resonate in the hearts of both children in foster care and the adults who love them.

“A gift to Inuit children in care” from the authors, foster parents, this story is rich with empathy and understanding for those with uncertain futures.

Although Pakak is happy with his new White foster family, he misses the family he left behind and is worried about what may happen to him. His new family provides him with a comfortable and safe haven, with good food and fun outings. “I went out sledding with my foster sister and we played on the big pile of snow,” Pakak recounts. But sometimes Pakak feels sad when he thinks of the family he can no longer be with. Those are the times he remembers the “secret that my anaanattiaq, my grandmother, told me,” that “love can travel anywhere in an instant!” Playfully, Pakak whispers it to readers just as his anaanattiaq had done with him. Pakak knows she loves and thinks about him all the time. When he feels unsure, he knows that he’s not alone, a feeling that extends beyond his family. “Nunarjuaq, the Land, loves me,” he says; “Siqiniq, the Sun loves me,” and “Taqqiq, the Moon, loves me.” He holds “a happy secret in my heart.…I know I am loved. And so are you!” Lim’s illustrations are packed with cultural details, reinforcing both Pakak’s affectionate relationship with his foster family and the love of his birth family. The text is interspersed with Inuktitut vocabulary.

Like a love poem, this story will resonate in the hearts of both children in foster care and the adults who love them. (glossary, pronunciation notes) (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: May 4, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-77227-281-9

Page Count: 30

Publisher: Inhabit Media

Review Posted Online: March 1, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story.

A home-renovation project is interrupted by a family of wrens, allowing a young girl an up-close glimpse of nature.

Renata and her father enjoy working on upgrading their bathroom, installing a clawfoot bathtub, and cutting a space for a new window. One warm night, after Papi leaves the window space open, two wrens begin making a nest in the bathroom. Rather than seeing it as an unfortunate delay of their project, Renata and Papi decide to let the avian carpenters continue their work. Renata witnesses the birth of four chicks as their rosy eggs split open “like coats that are suddenly too small.” Renata finds at a crucial moment that she can help the chicks learn to fly, even with the bittersweet knowledge that it will only hasten their exits from her life. Rosen uses lively language and well-chosen details to move the story of the baby birds forward. The text suggests the strong bond built by this Afro-Latinx father and daughter with their ongoing project without needing to point it out explicitly, a light touch in a picture book full of delicate, well-drawn moments and precise wording. Garoche’s drawings are impressively detailed, from the nest’s many small bits to the developing first feathers on the chicks and the wall smudges and exposed wiring of the renovation. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at actual size.)

Renata’s wren encounter proves magical, one most children could only wish to experience outside of this lovely story. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-12320-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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Nice enough but not worth repeat reads.

Emma deals with jitters before playing the guitar in the school talent show.

Pop musician Kevin Jonas and his wife, Danielle, put performance at the center of their picture-book debut. When Emma is intimidated by her very talented friends, the encouragement of her younger sister, Bella, and the support of her family help her to shine her own light. The story is straightforward and the moral familiar: Draw strength from your family and within to overcome your fears. Employing the performance-anxiety trope that’s been written many times over, the book plods along predictably—there’s nothing really new or surprising here. Dawson’s full-color digital illustrations center a White-presenting family along with Emma’s three friends of color: Jamila has tanned skin and wears a hijab; Wendy has dark brown skin and Afro puffs; and Luis has medium brown skin. Emma’s expressive eyes and face are the real draw of the artwork—from worry to embarrassment to joy, it’s clear what she’s feeling. A standout double-page spread depicts Emma’s talent show performance, with a rainbow swirl of music erupting from an amp and Emma rocking a glam outfit and electric guitar. Overall, the book reads pretty plainly, buoyed largely by the artwork. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Nice enough but not worth repeat reads. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: March 29, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-35207-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin

Review Posted Online: Feb. 8, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2022

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