The book will appeal particularly to children and families navigating this space between cultures.

HOME IS IN BETWEEN

National Book Award finalist Perkins’ picture book depicts a tale of immigration and adaptation.

In the opening spreads, Shanti says “goodbye” to her West Bengal village, with its “warm monsoon rains” and its “green palm trees,” and gives a dubious “hello” to a “town with cold rain / And orange and yellow leaves.” Here, in the United States, Shanti lives a bifurcated life: Inside feels familiar, with Ma cooking luchi; outside feels strange, with “napkins on laps” and “no elbows on tables.” Shanti occupies a liminal space, the “in-between” of the title, ricocheting from kathak dance to ballet, from Bollywood to Hollywood, from harmonium to piano. “Learning the town. / Remembering the village. / Again and again. / In Between.” When a White kid explains T-ball to Shanti and then demands, “Where are you from, Mars?” Shanti “feels tired” at this obviously racist attack. A couple of page turns and some months (judging by the illustrations) later, however, suddenly Shanti realizes she is “good at making anywhere feel like home. / Especially here. / In the space between cultures.” Kolkata-born, Australia-based Naidu’s illustrations are light and full of motion, reinforcing both the book’s tone and its content. Shanti’s expressions, including wonder, frustration, and exhaustion, are particularly emotive. In an author’s note, Perkins explains that such code-switching was exhausting to her as a new immigrant but acknowledges it as a gift as an adult. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 9% of actual size.)

The book will appeal particularly to children and families navigating this space between cultures. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-374-30367-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Dec. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2021

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The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE SCHOOLS

From the My Purple World series

A color-themed vision of what school should be like.

In what amounts to a rehash of The World Needs More Purple People (2020), Bell and Hart address adult as well as young readers to explain what “curious and kind you” can do to make school, or for that matter the universe, a better place. Again culminating in the vague but familiar “JUST. BE. YOU!” the program remains much the same—including asking questions both “universe-sized” (“Could you make a burrito larger than a garbage truck?”) and “smaller, people-sized” (i.e., personal), working hard to learn and make things, offering praise and encouragement, speaking up and out, laughing together, and listening to others. In the illustrations, light-skinned, blond-haired narrator Penny poses amid a busy, open-mouthed, diverse cast that includes a child wearing a hijab and one who uses a wheelchair. Wiseman opts to show fewer grown-ups here, but the children are the same as in the earlier book, and a scene showing two figures blowing chocolate milk out of their noses essentially recycles a visual joke from the previous outing. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43490-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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