A charming children’s tale that strikes the right balance between simplicity and creativity.


Maci's Magic Hairbrush

Broussard’s debut children’s picture book tells the story of Maci, a young African-American girl, who feels stifled by her everyday ponytails and longs for a new hairdo.

Maci envies her friends’ hair—Ming for her “shiny, black strands that moved in the wind,” Mina for her “winding waves” and Mimi for her “curls that hung in bouncy orange rings.” At bedtime, she confesses to her mother that her own humdrum hairstyle is bringing her down and that she wants to “have hair like [her] friends so that [she] can be beautiful too.” Her mother explains that she should feel good about herself regardless of her hairstyle and that she doesn’t need to have hair like her friends’ to be beautiful. “Maci,” she tells her, “you must always see your beauty.” Since this is the crux of the story’s lesson, the author’s choice of words here might have been catchier, but they do the job. Thankfully, there’s more to the story: When Maci goes to sleep, she dreams of a magic hairbrush that shows her how she would look with each of her friends’ hairstyles. The spells she conjures as she waves her brush have a rhythm and charming absurdity that will likely please a child’s ear: “Werbert, sherbert, wimfram, mate…Give me strands that are black and straight.” By the end of this dreamy exercise, Maci realizes that none of the different styles suit her like they do each of her friends. When her mother surprises her with a trip to the salon the following day, Green’s animated, nuanced illustrations depict this rite of passage in an appropriately celebratory fashion. The story homes in on teaching children about differences in an increasingly multicultural world and offers a timeless message about fostering self-worth.

A charming children’s tale that strikes the right balance between simplicity and creativity. 

Pub Date: Dec. 16, 2013

ISBN: 978-1484095645

Page Count: 42

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: July 3, 2014

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From the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series , Vol. 1

First volume of a planned three, this edited version of an ongoing online serial records a middle-school everykid’s triumphs and (more often) tribulations through the course of a school year. Largely through his own fault, mishaps seem to plague Greg at every turn, from the minor freak-outs of finding himself permanently seated in class between two pierced stoners and then being saddled with his mom for a substitute teacher, to being forced to wrestle in gym with a weird classmate who has invited him to view his “secret freckle.” Presented in a mix of legible “hand-lettered” text and lots of simple cartoon illustrations with the punch lines often in dialogue balloons, Greg’s escapades, unwavering self-interest and sardonic commentary are a hoot and a half—certain to elicit both gales of giggles and winces of sympathy (not to mention recognition) from young readers. (Fiction. 9-11)

Pub Date: April 1, 2007

ISBN: 0-8109-9313-9

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Amulet/Abrams

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2007

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A guidebook for taking action against racism.

The clear title and bold, colorful illustrations will immediately draw attention to this book, designed to guide each reader on a personal journey to work to dismantle racism. In the author’s note, Jewell begins with explanations about word choice, including the use of the terms “folx,” because it is gender neutral, and “global majority,” noting that marginalized communities of color are actually the majority in the world. She also chooses to capitalize Black, Brown, and Indigenous as a way of centering these communities’ voices; "white" is not capitalized. Organized in four sections—identity, history, taking action, and working in solidarity—each chapter builds on the lessons of the previous section. Underlined words are defined in the glossary, but Jewell unpacks concepts around race in an accessible way, bringing attention to common misunderstandings. Activities are included at the end of each chapter; they are effective, prompting both self-reflection and action steps from readers. The activities are designed to not be written inside the actual book; instead Jewell invites readers to find a special notebook and favorite pen and use that throughout. Combining the disruption of common fallacies, spotlights on change makers, the author’s personal reflections, and a call to action, this powerful book has something for all young people no matter what stage they are at in terms of awareness or activism.

Essential. (author’s note, further reading, glossary, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4521-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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