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A loving family story that pays tribute to the often unseen but no less powerful moments of courage.

A young Black girl learns about her beloved Trinidadian grandmother’s immigration story.

When Ava must dress as someone she admires for a school project, Granny invites Ava to explore her special trunk. As Granny talks about the contributions of Black women such as singer Winifred Atwell, Ava learns a lot, but none of the suggestions quite fit. But then Ava sees an unfamiliar suitcase. Items in the cardboard case encourage Granny to tell her own story. An empty jar that once held orange peels reminded Granny that the scent of island oranges helped her cope with sea sickness as she sailed on the Empire Windrush, a real-life ship that carried emigrants from the Caribbean to the United Kingdom in the mid-20th century. A pebble helped her recall a swim in the river with her younger sister. Granny speaks of overcoming homesickness and loneliness and finding happiness once she met Ava’s grandfather in her adopted home. Stirred by Granny’s bravery, Ava decides her story is one to celebrate and chooses to share it with her class. Rooted in relatable, concrete details, this uplifting tale centers on a loving intergenerational relationship and illustrates the importance of sharing memories and history. Sucre’s vibrant images make especially vivid use of the color yellow, contributing to the warmth of the narrative. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A loving family story that pays tribute to the often unseen but no less powerful moments of courage. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: May 2, 2023

ISBN: 9798887770338

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Review Posted Online: March 28, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2023

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A delightful story of love and hope.

Families are formed everywhere—including large metropolitan mass-transit systems!

Baby Kevin, initially known as “Danny ACE Doe,” was found in the New York City’s 14th Street subway station, which serves the A-C-E lines, by one of his future fathers, Danny. Kevin’s other father, Pete (author Mercurio), serves as the narrator, explaining how the two men came to add the newborn to their family. Readers are given an abridged version of the story from Danny and Pete’s point of view as they work to formally adopt Kevin and bring him home in time for Christmas. The story excels at highlighting the determination of loving fathers while still including realistic moments of hesitation, doubt, and fear that occur for new and soon-to-be parents. The language is mindful of its audience (for example using “piggy banks” instead of “bank accounts” to discuss finances) while never patronizing young readers. Espinosa’s posterlike artwork—which presents the cleanest New York readers are ever likely to see—extends the text and makes use of unexpected angles to heighten emotional scenes and moments of urgency. The diversity of skin tones, ages, and faces (Danny and Pete both present white, and Kevin has light brown skin) befits the Big Apple. Family snapshots and a closing author’s note emphasize that the most important thing in any family is love. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.3-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 43% of actual size.)

A delightful story of love and hope. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-42754-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses.

An NBA star pays tribute to the influence of his grandfather.

In the same vein as his Long Shot (2009), illustrated by Frank Morrison, this latest from Paul prioritizes values and character: “My granddad Papa Chilly had dreams that came true,” he writes, “so maybe if I listen and watch him, / mine will too.” So it is that the wide-eyed Black child in the simply drawn illustrations rises early to get to the playground hoops before anyone else, watches his elder working hard and respecting others, hears him cheering along with the rest of the family from the stands during games, and recalls in a prose afterword that his grandfather wasn’t one to lecture but taught by example. Paul mentions in both the text and the backmatter that Papa Chilly was the first African American to own a service station in North Carolina (his presumed dream) but not that he was killed in a robbery, which has the effect of keeping the overall tone positive and the instructional content one-dimensional. Figures in the pictures are mostly dark-skinned. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Blandly inspirational fare made to evoke equally shrink-wrapped responses. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2023

ISBN: 978-1-250-81003-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2022

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