A creative tale about the importance of kindness.

FAMILY 13

Neighbors learn to accept one another’s differences in this picture book.

In “the Land of Numerals,” Black Family 13 is considered “odd and unlucky.” The daughter, Little 13, struggles socially. She overhears schoolmates call her “bad luck.” Despite Dad 13’s encouragement, she feels dejected. One day, she observes her neighbors White Family 11 drive off and notices Baby 11’s blanket fly out the window. Heeding her dad’s reminder that “kindness counts,” Little 13 retrieves the blanket, wraps it, and attaches a note. When White “Grumpy Grandma 12” across the street sees Little 13 drop off the package, she calls “Police 911,” questioning, “Why is bad luck coming from House 11?” The police arrive and Family 11 returns. Little 13 anxiously watches the commotion. When Teen 11 reads Little 13’s note, he implores his mother to thank the youngster. Though hesitant to interact with her “unlucky” neighbors, Mom 11 realizes Family 13 is warm and kind. After she thanks Little 13, she and Mom 13 discover “they had so much in common and so much to share.” The moms recognize “no two numbers are the same, they are each special.” The use of numbers as a way to represent traits and differences between people is clever. Fakki deftly demonstrates the importance of respecting others, refuting stereotypes and assumptions, and treating individuals with compassion. Marreiro’s whimsical illustrations feature bright hues and cartoonlike characters with black dot eyes. Number-adorned wallpaper, clothing, and buildings appear throughout.

A creative tale about the importance of kindness.

Pub Date: Dec. 6, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-73390-496-4

Page Count: 41

Publisher: Hightree Publishing

Review Posted Online: Nov. 8, 2021

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Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life.

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BE YOU!

An inspirational picture book offers life advice for readers who want to be themselves.

Replete with sparkling, often quirky illustrations of children living their best lives, this book is a gorgeous guidebook for those seeking encouragement while encountering life’s challenges. The children featured—a racially diverse group ranging from infants to preschoolers—cheerfully navigate the various injunctions that flow through the text: “Be curious.…Be adventurous.…Be persistent.…Be kind.” What is remarkable about the book is that even though the instructions and the brief sentences explaining them are at times vague, the illustrations expand on them in ways readers will find endearing and uplifting. Those depicting painful or challenging moments are especially effective. The “Be persistent” double-page spread shows a child in a boat on stormy seas; it’s rich with deep blues as it emphasizes the energy of wind and rain and struggle in the face of challenge. Together with the accompanying repeated phrase “Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop. Keep going, never stop,” this spread arrests readers. By contrast, the “Be kind. Be understanding” spread simply presents two children’s faces, one cast in blue and the other in gold, but the empathy that Reynolds conveys is similarly captivating. While there is no plot to pull readers through the pages, the book provides rich fodder for caregivers to use as teachable moments, both informally and in classroom settings.

Both beautiful and inspiring as graduation gift or guide to life. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-57231-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Nov. 24, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2019

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More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves

MAYBE

A young child explores the unlimited potential inherent in all humans.

“Have you ever wondered why you are here?” asks the second-person narration. There is no one like you. Maybe you’re here to make a difference with your uniqueness; maybe you will speak for those who can’t or use your gifts to shine a light into the darkness. The no-frills, unrhymed narrative encourages readers to follow their hearts and tap into their limitless potential to be anything and do anything. The precisely inked and colored artwork plays with perspective from the first double-page spread, in which the child contemplates a mountain (or maybe an iceberg) in their hands. Later, they stand on a ladder to place white spots on tall, red mushrooms. The oversized flora and fauna seem to symbolize the presumptively insurmountable, reinforcing the book’s message that anything is possible. This quiet read, with its sophisticated central question, encourages children to reach for their untapped potential while reminding them it won’t be easy—they will make messes and mistakes—but the magic within can help overcome falls and failures. It’s unlikely that members of the intended audience have begun to wonder about their life’s purpose, but this life-affirming mood piece has honorable intentions. The child, accompanied by an adorable piglet and sporting overalls and a bird-beaked cap made of leaves, presents white.

More gift book than storybook, this is a meaningful addition to nursery bookshelves . (Picture book. 2-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-946873-75-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: May 22, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2019

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