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EVERYTHING IN ITS PLACE

A STORY OF BOOKS AND BELONGING

For all those who are never found without a book at recess.

A bookish child who doesn’t feel that they belong decides to take a risk.

To Nicky, belonging seems so simple in Ms. Gillam’s library at school. How could recess and its rowdy, closed-off groups ever compare to the quiet delight of reshelving books? “Everything has its place in a library. / The books. Ms. Gillam. Me.” Then Ms. Gillam announces she will be away at a conference, and Nicky dreads facing a whole week without her haven. Nicky seeks solace in the routine of their mother’s cafe and in their favorite customer, Maggie, who rides a motorcycle and loans Nicky books. But when Maggie comes to the restaurant one day with a whole fleet of motorcyclists—all of them different, all of them together—Nicky is floored by the realization that being different doesn’t have to mean being alone. The poetic text refreshingly resists “correcting” its misfit protagonist and opts instead to validate them. Nicky doesn’t have to shed their introversion or put aside books to make friends but instead invites a peer to dive into books with them. Pinkney Barlow’s illustrations offer a rich, journalesque storytelling counterpart, as the collage and ink-pen styles expertly contrast Nicky’s introspection with the world around them, gifting readers with an almost fantastical visual and emotional landscape. Almost the entire cast is Black and brown, though Barlow opts for unfilled line drawings rather than painted skin tones. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

For all those who are never found without a book at recess. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: July 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-37882-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

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

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 3, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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RUBY FINDS A WORRY

From the Big Bright Feelings series

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their...

Ruby is an adventurous and happy child until the day she discovers a Worry.

Ruby barely sees the Worry—depicted as a blob of yellow with a frowny unibrow—at first, but as it hovers, the more she notices it and the larger it grows. The longer Ruby is affected by this Worry, the fewer colors appear on the page. Though she tries not to pay attention to the Worry, which no one else can see, ignoring it prevents her from enjoying the things that she once loved. Her constant anxiety about the Worry causes the bright yellow blob to crowd Ruby’s everyday life, which by this point is nearly all washes of gray and white. But at the playground, Ruby sees a boy sitting on a bench with a growing sky-blue Worry of his own. When she invites the boy to talk, his Worry begins to shrink—and when Ruby talks about her own Worry, it also grows smaller. By the book’s conclusion, Ruby learns to control her Worry by talking about what worries her, a priceless lesson for any child—or adult—conveyed in a beautifully child-friendly manner. Ruby presents black, with hair in cornrows and two big afro-puff pigtails, while the boy has pale skin and spiky black hair.

A valuable asset to the library of a child who experiences anxiety and a great book to get children talking about their feelings (. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5476-0237-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Review Posted Online: May 7, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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