WE ARE GEMS

HEALING FROM ANTI-ASIAN MICROAGGRESSIONS THROUGH SELF-LOVE & SOLIDARITY

A thoughtful and optimistic work of healing wisdom.

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

Kim’s illustrated children’s book addresses racism and community-building.

This Kickstarter-backed work specifically addresses anti-Asian racism in its subtitle, but the text also focuses on intersectionality and cross-community solidarity. The book’s second two-page spread introduces readers to the idea of “shared liberation,” explaining that the Asian community is intertwined with Black and Indigenous communities and that systemic racism affects everyone. The text moves through several common microaggressions, suggesting an empowering and challenging response to each one: “When people try to commend you with, ‘You are unlike the others,’ reply that you are not straining yourself toward the dull cast of sameness.” Although the book is structured around a clear message, it avoids preachiness and didacticism through its cadence: Each wordy page exploring racism is followed by a single short sentence (such as “Our liberation is the history in our veins”), which shifts the narrative’s focus from problems and solutions to healing. There’s substantial backmatter, making up almost a quarter of the page count, which explores each microaggression in more detail, such as explaining the problematic nature of the question “Where are you really from?” This section of the book, which includes footnotes and suggestions for further reading, offers an introduction to historical figures, colonialism, and structural racism, giving adult readers a solid background that will help them share the book with young children. Yoon and Hem’s full-color illustrations feature kids and adults with a variety of skin tones and body types; a sense of joy and movement infuses each spread, depicting parades, dancers, and children floating against a starry backdrop, among other things. The slightly muted but varied color palette enhances the text, and although each image accompanies a description of racism, they depict only celebratory moments. Overall, the book is thoughtfully organized and inclusive in its approach, making for an engaging read-aloud for kids and an informative text for older readers.

A thoughtful and optimistic work of healing wisdom.

Pub Date: May 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-0578285566

Page Count: 34

Publisher: Self

Review Posted Online: Feb. 25, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2023

FIND MOMO EVERYWHERE

From the Find Momo series , Vol. 7

A well-meaning but lackluster tribute.

Readers bid farewell to a beloved canine character.

Momo is—or was—an adorable and very photogenic border collie owned by author Knapp. The many readers who loved him in the previous half-dozen books are in for a shock with this one. “Momo had died” is the stark reality—and there are no photographs of him here. Instead, Momo has been replaced by a flat cartoonish pastiche with strange, staring round white eyes, inserted into some of Knapp’s photography (which remains appealing, insofar as it can be discerned under the mixed media). Previous books contained few or no words. Unfortunately, virtuosity behind a lens does not guarantee mastery of verse. The art here is accompanied by words that sometimes rhyme but never find a workable or predictable rhythm (“We’d fetch and we’d catch, / we’d run and we’d jump. Every day we found new / games to play”). It’s a pity, because the subject—a pet’s death—is an important one to address with children. Of course, Momo isn’t gone; he can still be found “everywhere” in memories. But alas, he can be found here only in the crude depictions of the darling dog so well known from the earlier books.

A well-meaning but lackluster tribute. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2024

ISBN: 9781683693864

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Quirk Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 4, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2023

HUMMINGBIRD

A sweet and endearing feathered migration.

A relationship between a Latina grandmother and her mixed-race granddaughter serves as the frame to depict the ruby-throated hummingbird migration pattern.

In Granny’s lap, a girl is encouraged to “keep still” as the intergenerational pair awaits the ruby-throated hummingbirds with bowls of water in their hands. But like the granddaughter, the tz’unun—“the word for hummingbird in several [Latin American] languages”—must soon fly north. Over the next several double-page spreads, readers follow the ruby-throated hummingbird’s migration pattern from Central America and Mexico through the United States all the way to Canada. Davies metaphorically reunites the granddaughter and grandmother when “a visitor from Granny’s garden” crosses paths with the girl in New York City. Ray provides delicately hashed lines in the illustrations that bring the hummingbirds’ erratic flight pattern to life as they travel north. The watercolor palette is injected with vibrancy by the addition of gold ink, mirroring the hummingbirds’ flashing feathers in the slants of light. The story is supplemented by notes on different pages with facts about the birds such as their nest size, diet, and flight schedule. In addition, a note about ruby-throated hummingbirds supplies readers with detailed information on how ornithologists study and keep track of these birds.

A sweet and endearing feathered migration. (bibliography, index) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5362-0538-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 26, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

Close Quickview