This quietly powerful family story encourages children to use both voices and hands to advocate for change.

LUBAYA'S QUIET ROAR

Activism comes in many forms.

Lubaya prefers sitting quietly to speaking up in class, even when she knows the answer. She’s often picked last for soccer, but she doesn’t mind because before the game ends, Lubaya has wandered off, absorbed in daydreaming. This might be the story of a neurodivergent child, or Lubaya might just be introverted and introspective. She plays well with her brother, Jelani, but even he cannot hold her attention through a video game. One thing Lubaya spends time on, though, is creating artwork on the back sides of her family’s protest signs, saved from a march and bearing messages like “We Are One Earth” and “Peace.” When alarming events air on the TV news, Lubaya’s parents hold her and Jelani close and tell them it’s time to march again, giving Lubaya’s posters a second life. At the march, Lubaya—whose Swahili name means “young lioness” according to a closing note—adds her voice and her artwork to the protest, amplifying the power of the marchers’ messages with her hand-drawn images. Williamson’s textured illustrations, created in oil paint and crayon, feature bright colors and vibrant backgrounds and represent well the visible diversity of people of color, even for members of the same family. (This book was reviewed digitally with 9-by-21-inch double-page spreads viewed at 27.6% of actual size.)

This quietly powerful family story encourages children to use both voices and hands to advocate for change. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-55555-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2020

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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