Curated by poet Hopkins, a collection of poems and illustrations sourced from a diverse pool of creators.
Each double-page spread or multipage sequence captures a childhood memory, an artist paired with a poet welcoming readers into an expansive space of youth and memory. Storyteller G. Neri describes his “Creole, Filipino, and Mexican” heritage as a “great example of globalization,” and other contributors celebrate their mixed cultural heritages: Juliet Menendez (Guatemalan/Irish), Janet S. Wong (Korean/Chinese), Janine Macbeth (Asian/black/white/Native), and Nick Bruel (Chinese/Belgian). Insoo Kim doubles down as a poet and illustrator in “Speak Up,” in which a young boy challenged to “say something Korean” confronts his dual identity as a U.S.–born Korean American. Poets and artists are generally paired loosely by identity, with Naomi Shihab Nye’s Palestinian heritage and Sawsan Chalabi’s Lebanese background contributing to their collaboration, for instance, and Abenaki author Joseph Bruchac’s poem “Rez Road” juxtaposed with Mohawk artist David Kanietakeron Fatdden’s symbolic painting. Brief statements by each creator accompany their contributions, and select vocabulary is defined discreetly in tiny type at the ends of poems. The compilation ends with a wonderful section that includes child and adult photos and bios of all of the book’s contributors, a nice touch that inspires, as it puts names to faces for youth to see that people of all cultures are accomplished artists.
A perfect addition to the bookshelves of culture, poetry, and art. (Picture book/poetry. 8-12)