A wonderful springboard for cross-cultural understanding conveyed through deeply symbolic art.

NANA AKUA GOES TO SCHOOL

An open-hearted tribute to children with immigrant parents or grandparents.

Next Monday is Grandparents Day, and Zura, a brown-skinned girl of African descent, has a problem. Though excited, Zura worries about her classmates’ responses to Nana Akua, who has facial markings—a tradition of the Akan people of Ghana that identifies their tribal family. Sometimes in public, people have made negative comments and stared. When Zura tells Nana Akua her worries at home, Nana pulls out Zura’s favorite quilt, adorned with West African Adinkra symbols, and makes a plan to help Zura’s classmates understand her facial markings. On Grandparents Day, Nana and Zura wear African dresses, and Nana explains her markings, comparing them to tattoos. She invites the children to choose an Adinkra from the quilt, each of which has a meaning (explained on the endpapers), and they and their grandparents enjoy the personal introduction to Adinkras Nana gives them. Harrison contributes spectacular collage art that surrounds Zura’s family with colors, patterns, and objects, such as an African drum, pottery, art, and Black dolls, that connect them with West Africa. Harrison also illustrates a full page of Nana Akua’s face, gazing directly at readers. Her brown skin, full lips, gray eyebrows, tufts of gray hair at the edges of her head wrap, and her gorgeous purple, patterned fabrics all invite readers to see Nana Akua.

A wonderful springboard for cross-cultural understanding conveyed through deeply symbolic art. (glossary, sources, acknowledgements) (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-58113-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: May 17, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode.

HORRIBLE HARRY SAYS GOODBYE

From the Horrible Harry series , Vol. 37

A long-running series reaches its closing chapters.

Having, as Kline notes in her warm valedictory acknowledgements, taken 30 years to get through second and third grade, Harry Spooger is overdue to move on—but not just into fourth grade, it turns out, as his family is moving to another town as soon as the school year ends. The news leaves his best friend, narrator “Dougo,” devastated…particularly as Harry doesn’t seem all that fussed about it. With series fans in mind, the author takes Harry through a sort of last-day-of-school farewell tour. From his desk he pulls a burned hot dog and other items that featured in past episodes, says goodbye to Song Lee and other classmates, and even (for the first time ever) leads Doug and readers into his house and memento-strewn room for further reminiscing. Of course, Harry isn’t as blasé about the move as he pretends, and eyes aren’t exactly dry when he departs. But hardly is he out of sight before Doug is meeting Mohammad, a new neighbor from Syria who (along with further diversifying a cast that began as mostly white but has become increasingly multiethnic over the years) will also be starting fourth grade at summer’s end, and planning a written account of his “horrible” buddy’s exploits. Finished illustrations not seen.

A fitting farewell, still funny, acute, and positive in its view of human nature even in its 37th episode. (Fiction. 7-9)

Pub Date: Nov. 27, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-451-47963-1

Page Count: 80

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Sept. 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2018

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