A thoughtful and optimistic work of healing wisdom.



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

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Energetic enough to carry younger rocketeers off the launch pad if not into a very high orbit.


From the Professor Astro Cat series

The bubble-helmeted feline explains what rockets do and the role they have played in sending people (and animals) into space.

Addressing a somewhat younger audience than in previous outings (Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space, 2013, etc.), Astro Cat dispenses with all but a light shower of “factoroids” to describe how rockets work. A highly selective “History of Space Travel” follows—beginning with a crew of fruit flies sent aloft in 1947, later the dog Laika (her dismal fate left unmentioned), and the human Yuri Gagarin. Then it’s on to Apollo 11 in 1969; the space shuttles Discovery, Columbia, and Challenger (the fates of the latter two likewise elided); the promise of NASA’s next-gen Orion and the Space Launch System; and finally vague closing references to other rockets in the works for local tourism and, eventually, interstellar travel. In the illustrations the spacesuited professor, joined by a mouse and cat in similar dress, do little except float in space and point at things. Still, the art has a stylish retro look, and portraits of Sally Ride and Guion Bluford diversify an otherwise all-white, all-male astronaut corps posing heroically or riding blocky, geometric spacecraft across starry reaches.

Energetic enough to carry younger rocketeers off the launch pad if not into a very high orbit. (glossary) (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-911171-55-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Flying Eye Books

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.


Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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