A joyful, imaginative celebration of diversity.

I CELEBRATE MY SKIN

Children of many skin colors appreciate both differences and similarities in this picture book.

A group of children enjoy all kinds of activities in beautiful outdoor settings, including a backyard with flowering trees crowned by a rainbow, a pine forest with waterfalls, and an African savanna. They run through a sprinkler, climb up to a treehouse, dig in a sandbox, have a picnic, splash in a brook, or play games like tug of war. They’re a diverse bunch, representing a wide range of ethnicities, skin colors, and hairstyles. While these differences are to be celebrated, it’s also important to remember what we share. For everyone, whatever the shade, skin protects your body, and everyone has eyes, ears, a nose, and so on; most importantly, we all have “a heart that beats and loves.” In her debut, Adumetey exuberantly expresses positivity around diversity, which isn’t limited to skin color (one kid uses a wheelchair; a father and son are Sikh; children wear various traditional clothing). She also provides helpful vocabulary choices for skin colors. Biswas, an experienced illustrator, uses an appropriately rich palette to convey not just the range, but the beauty of skin hues. The book includes a skin tones coloring page, a crossword puzzle, and a skin-tone matching game.

A joyful, imaginative celebration of diversity.

Pub Date: Nov. 25, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-73573-821-5

Page Count: 38

Publisher: LuntRidge Group LLC

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2021

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New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned.

WHY A DAUGHTER NEEDS A MOM

All the reasons why a daughter needs a mother.

Each spread features an adorable cartoon animal parent-child pair on the recto opposite a rhyming verse: “I’ll always support you in giving your all / in every endeavor, the big and the small, / and be there to catch you in case you should fall. / I hope you believe this is true.” A virtually identical book, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad, publishes simultaneously. Both address standing up for yourself and your values, laughing to ease troubles, being thankful, valuing friendship, persevering and dreaming big, being truthful, thinking through decisions, and being open to differences, among other topics. Though the sentiments/life lessons here and in the companion title are heartfelt and important, there are much better ways to deliver them. These books are likely to go right over children’s heads and developmental levels (especially with the rather advanced vocabulary); their parents are the more likely audience, and for them, the books provide some coaching in what kids need to hear. The two books are largely interchangeable, especially since there are so few references to mom or dad, but one spread in each book reverts to stereotype: Dad balances the two-wheeler, and mom helps with clothing and hair styles. Since the books are separate, it aids in customization for many families.

New parents of daughters will eat these up and perhaps pass on the lessons learned. (Picture book. 4-8, adult)

Pub Date: May 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-4926-6781-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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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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