YOUR ONE AND ONLY HEART

Will leave readers marveling at the versatility of one of the body’s most essential organs.

A doctor explains the heart’s parts and functions in poetic language.

Our hearts, LaRocca writes, are “singular”—beating about 54 million times before we take our first breath and continuing to beat “every second / of every minute / of every hour / of every day” until our last one—and also “cooperative” as the “captain of / Team Cardiovascular.” In the same vein, she goes on to show how it is at once “simple and complex,” “constant and changeable.” Readers learn that though the heart is “hidden,” protected by the ribs, it’s also “noticeable”—we can easily feel and hear it. LaRocca makes clear that this organ shares a number of seemingly contradictory characteristics and thus “does / Everything / it’s supposed to do. / Just like you.” In screen print–style illustrations, Conrad reinforces the theme with a racially diverse cast of actively posed children (including one who uses a wheelchair) putting their hearts through their paces by playing, resting, dancing, and studying stylized diagrams of cardiac chambers and flows. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Will leave readers marveling at the versatility of one of the body’s most essential organs. (Informational picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 15, 2023

ISBN: 9780593326336

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: May 24, 2023

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2023

THE LITTLE BOOK OF JOY

Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40.

From two Nobel Peace Prize winners, an invitation to look past sadness and loneliness to the joy that surrounds us.

Bobbing in the wake of 2016’s heavyweight Book of Joy (2016), this brief but buoyant address to young readers offers an earnest insight: “If you just focus on the thing that is making / you sad, then the sadness is all you see. / But if you look around, you will / see that joy is everywhere.” López expands the simply delivered proposal in fresh and lyrical ways—beginning with paired scenes of the authors as solitary children growing up in very different circumstances on (as they put it) “opposite sides of the world,” then meeting as young friends bonded by streams of rainbow bunting and going on to share their exuberantly hued joy with a group of dancers diverse in terms of age, race, culture, and locale while urging readers to do the same. Though on the whole this comes off as a bit bland (the banter and hilarity that characterized the authors’ recorded interchanges are absent here) and their advice just to look away from the sad things may seem facile in view of what too many children are inescapably faced with, still, it’s hard to imagine anyone in the world more qualified to deliver such a message than these two. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Hundreds of pages of unbridled uplift boiled down to 40. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 27, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-48423-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2022

I AM RUBY BRIDGES

A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era.

The New Orleans school child who famously broke the color line in 1960 while surrounded by federal marshals describes the early days of her experience from a 6-year-old’s perspective.

Bridges told her tale to younger children in 2009’s Ruby Bridges Goes to School, but here the sensibility is more personal, and the sometimes-shocking historical photos have been replaced by uplifting painted scenes. “I didn’t find out what being ‘the first’ really meant until the day I arrived at this new school,” she writes. Unfrightened by the crowd of “screaming white people” that greets her at the school’s door (she thinks it’s like Mardi Gras) but surprised to find herself the only child in her classroom, and even the entire building, she gradually realizes the significance of her act as (in Smith’s illustration) she compares a small personal photo to the all-White class photos posted on a bulletin board and sees the difference. As she reflects on her new understanding, symbolic scenes first depict other dark-skinned children marching into classes in her wake to friendly greetings from lighter-skinned classmates (“School is just school,” she sensibly concludes, “and kids are just kids”) and finally an image of the bright-eyed icon posed next to a soaring bridge of reconciliation. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A unique angle on a watershed moment in the civil rights era. (author and illustrator notes, glossary) (Autobiographical picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 6, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-75388-2

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: June 21, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2022

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