BOUNDLESS GRACE

A poignant challenge to the myth of the Ozzie and Harriet- style nuclear family and answer for the pain of those who feel their families don't fit the mold. The heroine of Amazing Grace (1991) returns, aggrieved because she doesn't have a father. Her father returned to Africa so long ago that she knows him only through letters and pictures. Grace, disturbed that books show a mother, father, boy, girl, dog, and cat, complains that her family is ``not right.'' Surprised by her father's offer to visit him in the Gambia during her spring vacation, Grace travels to Africa full of fears what she will find; her meeting with her father's family is bittersweet and confusing. Grace isn't sure she can handle two families, but reassured by her grandmother, opens her heart up to knowing and loving them all. This sensitive, engaging story follows beautifully in the footsteps of its predecessor. Scenes of the Gambia show painstaking research in every lush scene. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-8037-1715-6

Page Count: 28

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 1995

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This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash.

JABARI JUMPS

Young Jabari decides today is the day he is going to jump from the diving board, even though it’s a little high and a little scary.

Jabari’s father and baby sister accompany him to the swimming pool in the city, where Jabari has already made up his mind about today’s goal: jumping off the diving board. “I’m a great jumper,” he says, “so I’m not scared at all.” But that’s not entirely true. Readers see Jabari play the waiting game as the other children (a diverse bunch) make their ways past him in line. Once Jabari finally begins to climb up, he slyly remembers that he forgot to “stretch.” The stalling techniques don’t faze his dad, who sees an opportunity for a life lesson. “It’s okay to feel a little scared,” offers his dad at the side of the pool. With renewed will, Jabari returns to the towering diving board, ready to embrace the feat. In her debut, Cornwall places her loving black family at the center, coloring the swimming pool and park beyond in minty hues and adding whimsy with digitally collaged newspaper for skyscrapers. A bird’s-eye view of Jabari’s toes clinging to the edge of the diving board as he looks way, way down at the blue pool below puts readers in his head and in the action.

This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7838-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

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AMAZING GRACE

Grace loves to act out her favorite stories, taking every part from Joan of Arc to Mowgli. But when her class learns that they will be doing Peter Pan, the other kids tell Grace she can't have the lead: Peter's neither black nor a girl. Fortunately, Nana and Ma have contagious confidence in Grace's ability, and at the tryouts the class also agrees that Grace is best. It's easy to catch the wholesomely assertive spirit here—as Binch does, in this excellent debut, with her detailed, realistic watercolors; vibrant Grace almost springs from the page. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1991

ISBN: 0-8037-1040-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1991

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