Attractive illustrations enliven an offbeat but interesting story.

SYLVIA'S BOOKSHOP

THE STORY OF PARIS'S BELOVED BOOKSTORE AND ITS FOUNDER (AS TOLD BY THE BOOKSTORE ITSELF!)

The historic Paris bookshop Shakespeare and Company tells how an American woman transformed it into a gathering place for legendary writers and avid readers.

Narrating in the first person, the shop tells readers how, in a time long ago, Sylvia Beach, “An American free spirit as fresh as the spring. / A lover of life—and poetry too— / who brought dreams to Paris and made them come true,” packs the small building with books “from ceiling to floor” and placed old writers’ portraits on the walls. Sylvia sits reading, surrounded by bright images from books, her “treasures.” Her love of books and all they can do flows, matching the enthusiasm from visitors who come to the bookshop and stay “long into the nights.” These esteemed guests, nicknamed in the text but introduced in the backmatter, include Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Janet Flanner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, James Joyce, Simone de Beauvoir, and Man Ray. While one person of color (Josephine Baker) is discussed by the visitors and a few people of darker skin tones appear in the bookshop, none of them are introduced by name. The art is the highlight of this volume; Wu turns a text about books and writers into a veritable party on the page, with daytime and imaginary scenes in bright pastels and night scenes in blue tones highlighted with warm yellows representing the bookshop’s cozy atmosphere. The rhyming text is a bit awkward in the opening but ultimately carries the story well. The ending hammers home the value of books. Both opening and closing seem off-key in a historical picture book, but that should not deter readers.

Attractive illustrations enliven an offbeat but interesting story. (historical, biographical notes) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4814-7245-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Paula Wiseman/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: May 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2018

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A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared.

IMAGINE

Former Poet Laureate Herrera encourages his young readers to imagine all they might be in his new picture book.

Herrera’s free verse tells his own story, starting as a young boy who loves the plants and animals he finds outdoors in the California fields and is then thrust into the barren, concrete city. In the city he begins to learn to read and write, learning English and discovering a love for words and the way ink flows “like tiny rivers” across the page as he applies pen to paper. Words soon become sentences, poems, lyrics, and a means of escape. This love of the word ultimately leads him to make writing his vocation and to become the first Chicano Poet Laureate of the United States, an honor Herrera received in 2015. Through this story of hardship to success, expressed in a series of conditional statements that all begin “If I,” Herrera implores his readers to “imagine what you could do.” Castillo’s ink and foam monoprint illustrations are a tender accompaniment to Herrera’s verse, the black lines of her illustrations flowing across the page in rhythm with the author’s poetry. Together this makes for a charming read-aloud for groups or a child snuggled in a lap.

A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared. (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9052-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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A resplendent masterpiece.

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DREAMERS

Based on her experience of leaving Mexico for the United States, Morales’ latest offers an immigrant’s tale steeped in hope, dreams, and love.

This story begins with a union between mother and son, with arms outstretched in the midst of a new beginning. Soon after, mother and son step on a bridge, expansive “like the universe,” to cross to the other side, to become immigrants. An ethereal city appears, enfolded in fog. The brown-skinned woman and her child walk through this strange new land, unwilling to speak, unaccustomed to “words unlike those of our ancestors.” But soon their journey takes them to the most marvelous of places: the library. In a series of stunning double-page spreads, Morales fully captures the sheer bliss of discovery as their imaginations take flight. The vibrant, surreal mixed-media artwork, including Mexican fabric, metal sheets, “the comal where I grill my quesadillas,” childhood drawings, and leaves and plants, represents a spectacular culmination of the author’s work thus far. Presented in both English and Spanish editions (the latter in Teresa Mlawer’s translation), equal in evocative language, the text moves with purpose. No word is unnecessary, each a deliberate steppingstone onto the next. Details in the art provide cultural markers specific to the U.S., but the story ultimately belongs to one immigrant mother and her son. Thanks to books and stories (some of her favorites are appended), the pair find their voices as “soñadores of the world.”

A resplendent masterpiece. (author’s note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-8234-4055-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Neal Porter/Holiday House

Review Posted Online: Aug. 1, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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