A book to share about book-sharing at its best.

LITTLE LIBRARIES, BIG HEROES

A book-sized celebration and history of the Little Free Library movement.

Paul’s heartfelt text delivers the story behind Todd Bol’s founding of the Little Free Library nonprofit, which began as a tribute to his late mother in his home state of Wisconsin and has since spread around the world. Bol (who passed away in 2018 just weeks after a cancer diagnosis) built his first little library with discarded lumber, placing it at the edge of his yard and filling it with books for passersby to borrow. After seeing how it “became the center of [the] neighborhood” Bol approached his friend Rick Brooks for advice about how to spread what they came to call “Little Free Libraries” to other communities. Paul’s text details the ups and downs of their grassroots efforts, noting that they were inspired by librarian Lutie Stearns, “who brought travelling libraries all over Wisconsin,” and Andrew Carnegie, “who once built 2,510 libraries!” Parra’s accompanying illustrations, rendered in acrylics, depict Bol and Brooks, both white men, and the diverse people from across the United States and around the world who became “stewards,” or “community heroes” in the words of the text, of their own Little Free Libraries. Their flat aesthetic has something of a DIY/painted-on-lumber appearance, which adds to the homespun feeling of the text and the very movement that inspired it.

A book to share about book-sharing at its best. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-544-80027-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Clarion

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2019

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A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared.

IMAGINE

Former Poet Laureate Herrera encourages his young readers to imagine all they might be in his new picture book.

Herrera’s free verse tells his own story, starting as a young boy who loves the plants and animals he finds outdoors in the California fields and is then thrust into the barren, concrete city. In the city he begins to learn to read and write, learning English and discovering a love for words and the way ink flows “like tiny rivers” across the page as he applies pen to paper. Words soon become sentences, poems, lyrics, and a means of escape. This love of the word ultimately leads him to make writing his vocation and to become the first Chicano Poet Laureate of the United States, an honor Herrera received in 2015. Through this story of hardship to success, expressed in a series of conditional statements that all begin “If I,” Herrera implores his readers to “imagine what you could do.” Castillo’s ink and foam monoprint illustrations are a tender accompaniment to Herrera’s verse, the black lines of her illustrations flowing across the page in rhythm with the author’s poetry. Together this makes for a charming read-aloud for groups or a child snuggled in a lap.

A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared. (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9052-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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A resplendent masterpiece.

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DREAMERS

Based on her experience of leaving Mexico for the United States, Morales’ latest offers an immigrant’s tale steeped in hope, dreams, and love.

This story begins with a union between mother and son, with arms outstretched in the midst of a new beginning. Soon after, mother and son step on a bridge, expansive “like the universe,” to cross to the other side, to become immigrants. An ethereal city appears, enfolded in fog. The brown-skinned woman and her child walk through this strange new land, unwilling to speak, unaccustomed to “words unlike those of our ancestors.” But soon their journey takes them to the most marvelous of places: the library. In a series of stunning double-page spreads, Morales fully captures the sheer bliss of discovery as their imaginations take flight. The vibrant, surreal mixed-media artwork, including Mexican fabric, metal sheets, “the comal where I grill my quesadillas,” childhood drawings, and leaves and plants, represents a spectacular culmination of the author’s work thus far. Presented in both English and Spanish editions (the latter in Teresa Mlawer’s translation), equal in evocative language, the text moves with purpose. No word is unnecessary, each a deliberate steppingstone onto the next. Details in the art provide cultural markers specific to the U.S., but the story ultimately belongs to one immigrant mother and her son. Thanks to books and stories (some of her favorites are appended), the pair find their voices as “soñadores of the world.”

A resplendent masterpiece. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4055-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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