A poignant look at a homeless woman and her family—a constellation too rarely seen.

AUNT PEARL

Marta and Dan’s mom wants to help her transient sister, Pearl, who’s accustomed to couch surfing, hostels, and park benches.

“ ‘That’s not how it should be,’ said Mom. ‘Pearl will live with us.’ ” Pearl, whom the kids have never met, arrives with a loaded shopping cart. A man with a van brings more stuff. It fills the garage, the basement, and Pearl’s bedroom—conflicting with Mom’s penchant for tidiness. Dan reads the sentiments on Pearl’s hat buttons: “Normal people scare me.” Free-spirited Marta, age 6, accompanies Pearl on garbage-day scavenging, helping provide “a second chance” for castoff finds. Creative Pearl engages the diverse kids at Dan and Marta’s day camp in decorating a salvaged coffee table with bottle caps—a gift for Mom. But Pearl’s hoarding behavior and failed attempts to help domestically deepen the sisters’ discomfort. As summer turns, Pearl grows increasingly despondent, and one morning, she’s gone. Dan’s tearful: “Why’d she go?…She left her stuff.” But Marta “knew a mystery when she met one.” Luxbacher’s mixed-media illustrations supply visual clues: The buttons on Pearl’s left-behind hat are obscured with fabric scraps—a double-edged gift for Rose? On the table rest three fabric napkins—polka-dot, just like Pearl’s carry-bag. The ambiguity will have children and caregivers talking. Dan is dark-haired with light brown skin; the others present as white.

A poignant look at a homeless woman and her family—a constellation too rarely seen. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-77306-153-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: April 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2019

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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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