An engaging, cheerfully illustrated story with a classic moral.

Loukoumi And The Schoolyard Bully

In the sixth installment of Katsori’s (Loukoumi’s Cookbook, 2011, etc.) children’s book series, Loukoumi the lamb responds to a bully by following the golden rule.

Loukoumi is excited to tell her animal friends at school that her parents are expecting a new baby lamb. Her excitement is spoiled, however, when an alligator named Igor, the schoolyard bully, interrupts to mock Loukoumi’s unique name (which means “sweet” in Greek), and she’s hurt and confounded by his cruel words and actions. Fortunately, her crew of animal friends consoles her with wise words. They discuss the value of celebrating differences and individuality. Her monkey friend, Marika, explains that kindness and acceptance of others should prevail over cruelty and bullying. Throughout the day, Loukoumi follows her friends’ advice, showing Igor forgiving kindness and respect; for example, when Igor’s pencil breaks, Loukoumi happily lends him one of hers, despite Igor’s prior cruelty. Igor is surprised and positively affected by her unwavering friendliness. The book provides young readers with an example of how bullying may be overcome not with retaliation, but with kind consideration. Bright, colorful illustrations lend the book an engaging cartoon aesthetic. However, the resolution of Loukoumi’s bullying problem may seem too quick and easy, as Igor quickly transforms into an ally after just a few acts of kindness. However, the overarching theme of the story, the golden rule, is one which may be useful for young readers. The book’s accessible text and illustrations make this a good choice for beginning readers. It also comes with an audio version of the story, animatedly narrated by Nia Vardalos, writer and star of the 2002 film My Big Fat Greek Wedding, with Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman as the voice of Igor.

An engaging, cheerfully illustrated story with a classic moral.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 2013

ISBN: 978-0984161034

Page Count: 32

Publisher: NK Publications/Dream Day Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 25, 2014

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Essential.

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THIS BOOK IS ANTI-RACIST

20 LESSONS ON HOW TO WAKE UP, TAKE ACTION, AND DO THE WORK

A guidebook for taking action against racism.

The clear title and bold, colorful illustrations will immediately draw attention to this book, designed to guide each reader on a personal journey to work to dismantle racism. In the author’s note, Jewell begins with explanations about word choice, including the use of the terms “folx,” because it is gender neutral, and “global majority,” noting that marginalized communities of color are actually the majority in the world. She also chooses to capitalize Black, Brown, and Indigenous as a way of centering these communities’ voices; "white" is not capitalized. Organized in four sections—identity, history, taking action, and working in solidarity—each chapter builds on the lessons of the previous section. Underlined words are defined in the glossary, but Jewell unpacks concepts around race in an accessible way, bringing attention to common misunderstandings. Activities are included at the end of each chapter; they are effective, prompting both self-reflection and action steps from readers. The activities are designed to not be written inside the actual book; instead Jewell invites readers to find a special notebook and favorite pen and use that throughout. Combining the disruption of common fallacies, spotlights on change makers, the author’s personal reflections, and a call to action, this powerful book has something for all young people no matter what stage they are at in terms of awareness or activism.

Essential. (author’s note, further reading, glossary, select bibliography) (Nonfiction. 10-18)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4521-1

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2019

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Inspiration, shrink wrapped.

WHAT THE ROAD SAID

From an artist, poet, and Instagram celebrity, a pep talk for all who question where a new road might lead.

Opening by asking readers, “Have you ever wanted to go in a different direction,” the unnamed narrator describes having such a feeling and then witnessing the appearance of a new road “almost as if it were magic.” “Where do you lead?” the narrator asks. The Road’s twice-iterated response—“Be a leader and find out”—bookends a dialogue in which a traveler’s anxieties are answered by platitudes. “What if I fall?” worries the narrator in a stylized, faux hand-lettered type Wade’s Instagram followers will recognize. The Road’s dialogue and the narration are set in a chunky, sans-serif type with no quotation marks, so the one flows into the other confusingly. “Everyone falls at some point, said the Road. / But I will always be there when you land.” Narrator: “What if the world around us is filled with hate?” Road: “Lead it to love.” Narrator: “What if I feel stuck?” Road: “Keep going.” De Moyencourt illustrates this colloquy with luminous scenes of a small, brown-skinned child, face turned away from viewers so all they see is a mop of blond curls. The child steps into an urban mural, walks along a winding country road through broad rural landscapes and scary woods, climbs a rugged metaphorical mountain, then comes to stand at last, Little Prince–like, on a tiny blue and green planet. Wade’s closing claim that her message isn’t meant just for children is likely superfluous…in fact, forget the just.

Inspiration, shrink wrapped. (Picture book. 6-8, adult)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26949-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Review Posted Online: April 8, 2021

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