A book to own and refer to, often.

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CONSENT (FOR KIDS!)

BOUNDARIES, RESPECT, AND BEING IN CHARGE OF YOU

A comic-book handbook for young audiences about physical and emotional boundaries.

This small-but-mighty resource cleverly mimics popular early-reader series like Elephant & Piggie or Narwhal and Jelly, with heavy-duty binding and a jaunty cartoon feel. But instead of zany friendships, this text carefully takes children through consent, relationship dynamics, and what to do if you experience, cause, or witness harm. The unnamed characters are clothed stick figures with a variety of hairstyles and skin tones of different shades of gray. Early chapters include “You Rule,” about individual boundaries, and “Giving & Getting Consent,” while later ones focus on community and helping others. Brian skillfully balances kid-friendly scenarios (tickling, the gift of an unsuitable pet) with clear but gentle information about safety: a phone with text messages reading “send pics” and “wanna meet?”; a firm note that if a “picture shows someone under 18 without clothes on, it’s a crime.” The text also acknowledges that not all kids have the power to stand up to the adults in their lives: “It’s great when your family supports your choices. But if they don’t, you have a few options,” such as “reach[ing] out to supportive friends” or “think[ing] about what you’ll do differently as an adult.” The twin emphases on clear and direct communication and that it’s OK to change your mind are important messages effectively delivered.

A book to own and refer to, often. (Graphic nonfiction. 6-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-316-45773-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans.

EVERYTHING AWESOME ABOUT SHARKS AND OTHER UNDERWATER CREATURES!

In the wake of Everything Awesome About Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Beasts! (2019), Lowery spins out likewise frothy arrays of facts and observations about sharks, whales, giant squid, and smaller but no less extreme (or at least extremely interesting) sea life.

He provides plenty of value-added features, from overviews of oceanic zones and environments to jokes, drawing instructions, and portrait galleries suitable for copying or review. While not one to pass up any opportunity to, for instance, characterize ambergris as “whale vomit perfume” or the clownfish’s protective coating as “snot armor,” he also systematically introduces members of each of the eight orders of sharks, devotes most of a page to the shark’s electroreceptive ampullae of Lorenzini, and even sheds light on the unobvious differences between jellyfish and the Portuguese man-of-war or the reason why the blue octopus is said to have “arms” rather than “tentacles.” He also argues persuasively that sharks have gotten a bad rap (claiming that more people are killed each year by…vending machines) and closes with pleas to be concerned about plastic waste, to get involved in conservation efforts, and (cannily) to get out and explore our planet because (quoting Jacques-Yves Cousteau) “People protect what they love.” Human figures, some with brown skin, pop up occasionally to comment in the saturated color illustrations. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-17-inch double-page spreads viewed at 45% of actual size.)

An immersive dunk into a vast subject—and on course for shorter attention spans. (bibliography, list of organizations) (Nonfiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-338-35973-2

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Timely and stirring.

ENOUGH!

20 PROTESTERS WHO CHANGED AMERICA

A shoutout to heroes of nonviolent protest, from Sam Adams to the Parkland students.

Kicking off a proud tradition, “Samuel threw a tea party.” In the same vein, “Harriet led the way,” “Susan cast her vote,” “Rosa kept her seat,” “Ruby went to school,” and “Martin had a dream.” But Easton adds both newer and less-prominent names to the familiar roster: “Tommie and John raised their fists” (at the 1968 Summer Olympics, also depicted on the cover), for instance; “John and Yoko stayed in bed”; “Gilbert sewed a rainbow” (for San Francisco’s Gay Freedom Day parade in 1978); “Jazz wore a dress”; and “America [Ferrera] said, ‘Time’s up.’ ” Viewed from low or elevated angles that give them a monumental look, the grave, determined faces of the chosen subjects shine with lapidary dignity in Chen’s painted, close-up portraits. Variations in features and skin tone are rather subtle, but in general both the main lineup and groups of onlookers are visibly diverse. The closing notes are particularly valuable—not only filling in the context and circumstances of each act of protest (and the full names of the protesters), but laying out its personal consequences: Rosa Parks and her husband lost their jobs, as did Ruby Bridges’ first-grade teacher, and Tommie Smith and John Carlos were banned for life from Olympic competition. Pull quotes in both the art and the endnotes add further insight and inspiration.

Timely and stirring. (Informational picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-984831-97-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Sept. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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