A celebration of small miracles.

READ REVIEW

SEA GLASS SUMMER

“Some years ago, a boy named Thomas” spends a summer collecting fragments of sea glass and dreaming of their origins.

Photorealistic watercolor illustrations depict both mid-20th-century Maine’s dappled rocks, glinting waters, and lucid sunlight and also a grandmother’s entreating, tender smile and a grandson’s eager, earnest eyes. Thomas skips rocks and scans the shore, wholly absorbed in exploration, discovery, and imaginative play. His grandfather’s magnifying glass brings the bits and pieces given up by the ocean into focus. These masterful, moving watercolor pictures transmit feelings and features so faithfully they feel somehow deeply personal. The boy’s dreams, which trace his various sea-glass finds back to the events that made them shards in the ocean, appear as full-bleed, double-page spreads in gradations of gray. Even though set in the monochromatic past, these historical scenes (a ship’s christening, a schooner tossed in a tempest’s fury) still appear startlingly clear, specific, and realistic. Young readers might play with the idea that Thomas’ dreams transmit actual historical events, turning this inexplicable impossibility over in their minds again and again like a piece of glass tumbling in the tide. When a present-day girl hands her Papaw Tom a piece of clear sea glass she finds, one that could have come from a broken magnifying glass decades before, the past and present converge. Thomas and his family all present white.

A celebration of small miracles. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-7636-8443-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference.

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ

From the Questioneers series

Sofia Valdez proves that community organizers of any age can have a positive impact.

After a trash-heap eyesore causes an injury to her beloved abuelo, Sofia springs into action to bring big change to her neighborhood. The simple rhymes of the text follow Sofia on her journey from problem through ideas to action as she garners community support for an idyllic new park to replace the dangerous junk pile. When bureaucracy threatens to quash Sofia’s nascent plan, she digs deep and reflects that “being brave means doing the thing you must do, / though your heart cracks with fear. / Though you’re just in Grade Two.” Sofia’s courage yields big results and inspires those around her to lend a hand. Implied Latinx, Sofia and her abuelo have medium brown skin, and Sofia has straight brown hair (Abuelo is bald). Readers will recognize Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist from Beaty’s previous installments in the Questioneers series making cameo appearances in several scenes. While the story connects back to the title and her aptitude for the presidency in only the second-to-last sentence of the book, Sofia’s leadership and grit are themes throughout. Roberts’ signature illustration style lends a sense of whimsy; detailed drawings will have readers scouring each page for interesting minutiae.

Fun but earnest, this rhyming romp reminds readers that one young person can make a difference. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3704-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

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Less pathological than Love You Forever but aimed at the same audience.

ONE MORE HUG

The reassurance of “one more hug” allows a little boy to take on fears, new challenges, and responsibilities as he grows into an older boy, adolescent, and finally young man.

Graceful gouache paintings delineate a child’s progress, from coping with the fear of a storm and a broken toy through the first time on a school bus, growing older and learning to climb a tree, ride a bike, play soccer, training with the track team, and, ultimately, driving away to life on his own. All the while, Mama is there to provide support and love, always with a special hug. Related in the past tense by Mama, the narrative reflects a nostalgic remembrance yet conveys the constant unbreakable bond between mother and child. “But even though you were older, you were still my boy. And you asked for… // one more hug before your big performance.” In a final sentimental reflection, Mama wonders if her now-adult son understands her pride and love for him and is happily rewarded with a surprise visit and “one more hug.” Children will enjoy reviewing the relatable illustrations of a growing child’s activities; however, it’s parents who will undoubtedly identify with the emotions. According to the author’s note, the intent is to assure parents that sons should be allowed to express their feelings. Both Mama and son are white.

Less pathological than Love You Forever but aimed at the same audience. (Picture book. 5-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 12, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2971-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Aladdin

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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