MY NEW MOM & ME

Galindo’s American picture-book debut makes strides toward filling gaps in adoption narratives.

First-person narration follows an anthropomorphic puppy settling in with a “new mom.” Mom is a striped cat—on the surface, an odd choice given the antagonism typically associated with these animals. The text doesn’t acknowledge this, but it reveals related concerns: “I was worried I didn’t look like Mom.” The puppy paints stripes on its body, but Mom lovingly provides assurance: “She likes that we are different.” Cleansed of paint, child and mother take a walk and ignore a glowering spotted cat-and-kitten pair who presumably disapprove of their interspecies family. Otherwise, they stay home navigating the everyday ups and downs of getting acquainted. There’s only scant attention given to the puppy’s pre-adoptive life: it arrives with two packed bags and also says, “I’d never had my own room before.” This leaves questions open about the puppy’s life and neglects the third part of the adoption triad: the birth family. And yet, this is one of few adoption books to feature an older child entering a new family, and the two animals’ different appearances could be read as symbolizing different races. The presentation of a single mother is also unusual and valuable. Throughout, digital illustrations employ a soft, flat aesthetic rendered in a muted palette that meets the gentle text’s tone.

A welcome addition. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 22, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-553-52134-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Schwartz & Wade/Random

Review Posted Online: Jan. 9, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

THE DAY YOU BEGIN

School-age children encounter and overcome feelings of difference from their peers in the latest picture book from Woodson.

This nonlinear story centers on Angelina, with big curly hair and brown skin, as she begins the school year with a class share-out of summer travels. Text and illustrations effectively work together to convey her feelings of otherness as she reflects on her own summer spent at home: “What good is this / when others were flying,” she ponders while leaning out her city window forlornly watching birds fly past to seemingly faraway places. López’s incorporation of a ruler for a door, table, and tree into the illustrations creatively extends the metaphor of measuring up to others. Three other children—Rigoberto, a recent immigrant from Venezuela; a presumably Korean girl with her “too strange” lunch of kimchi, meat, and rice; and a lonely white boy in what seems to be a suburb—experience more-direct teasing for their outsider status. A bright jewel-toned palette and clever details, including a literal reflection of a better future, reveal hope and pride in spite of the taunting. This reassuring, lyrical book feels like a big hug from a wise aunt as she imparts the wisdom of the world in order to calm trepidatious young children: One of these things is not like the other, and that is actually what makes all the difference.

A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-24653-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

Did you like this book?

Sincere and wholehearted.

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • New York Times Bestseller

  • IndieBound Bestseller

I PROMISE

The NBA star offers a poem that encourages curiosity, integrity, compassion, courage, and self-forgiveness.

James makes his debut as a children’s author with a motivational poem touting life habits that children should strive for. In the first-person narration, he provides young readers with foundational self-esteem encouragement layered within basketball descriptions: “I promise to run full court and show up each time / to get right back up and let my magic shine.” While the verse is nothing particularly artful, it is heartfelt, and in her illustrations, Mata offers attention-grabbing illustrations of a diverse and enthusiastic group of children. Scenes vary, including classrooms hung with student artwork, an asphalt playground where kids jump double Dutch, and a gym populated with pint-sized basketball players, all clearly part of one bustling neighborhood. Her artistry brings black and brown joy to the forefront of each page. These children evince equal joy in learning and in play. One particularly touching double-page spread depicts two vignettes of a pair of black children, possibly siblings; in one, they cuddle comfortably together, and in the other, the older gives the younger a playful noogie. Adults will appreciate the closing checklist of promises, which emphasize active engagement with school. A closing note very generally introduces principles that underlie the Lebron James Family Foundation’s I Promise School (in Akron, Ohio). (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 15% of actual size.)

Sincere and wholehearted. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-06-297106-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

more