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

I AM LOVED

“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 2, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2021

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Gorgeous, shimmering, heartfelt.

I SANG YOU DOWN FROM THE STARS

Anticipation, pregnancy, and the birth of a baby are celebrated in this story from Spillett-Sumner (Inniniwak) and Caldecott medalist Goade (Tlingit).

When a baby chooses its mother, special gatherings of family and community are held to prepare for the child’s arrival. Sacred items are collected and placed in a medicine bundle to be given to the baby at birth. These items will keep the growing child’s connection to their identity strong. Spillett-Sumner’s lyrical text begins as an Indigenous mother plans the journey with her unborn child. “Before I held you in my arms, I sang you down from the stars.” When she finds a white eagle plume, it becomes “the first gift in a bundle that will be yours.” The young mother finds more items for her child’s bundle: cedar, sage, a “star blanket,” and a special river stone “so that you always remember that you belong to this place.” The baby arrives in the spring, “with the waters that come when the ice breaks and the rivers flow again.” Goade uses a white “swoosh” of stars throughout the illustrations to intertwine traditional origin stories with a family’s experience of “love and joy” upon the arrival of the new baby, in scenes that pulse with both emotions. Author and illustrator each contribute a note describing how they drew upon their respective cultural traditions to inform their work, which will open the book up to a wide range of readers.

Gorgeous, shimmering, heartfelt. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: April 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-316-49316-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2021

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Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it.

YOUR BABY'S FIRST WORD WILL BE DADA

A succession of animal dads do their best to teach their young to say “Dada” in this picture-book vehicle for Fallon.

A grumpy bull says, “DADA!”; his calf moos back. A sad-looking ram insists, “DADA!”; his lamb baas back. A duck, a bee, a dog, a rabbit, a cat, a mouse, a donkey, a pig, a frog, a rooster, and a horse all fail similarly, spread by spread. A final two-spread sequence finds all of the animals arrayed across the pages, dads on the verso and children on the recto. All the text prior to this point has been either iterations of “Dada” or animal sounds in dialogue bubbles; here, narrative text states, “Now everybody get in line, let’s say it together one more time….” Upon the turn of the page, the animal dads gaze round-eyed as their young across the gutter all cry, “DADA!” (except the duckling, who says, “quack”). Ordóñez's illustrations have a bland, digital look, compositions hardly varying with the characters, although the pastel-colored backgrounds change. The punch line fails from a design standpoint, as the sudden, single-bubble chorus of “DADA” appears to be emanating from background features rather than the baby animals’ mouths (only some of which, on close inspection, appear to be open). It also fails to be funny.

Plotless and pointless, the book clearly exists only because its celebrity author wrote it. (Picture book. 3-5)

Pub Date: June 9, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-250-00934-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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