The gift of language becomes relevant and real in this original tale.

WHEN GOD GAVE US WORDS

When God gives language to people, the angels strongly object, convinced “people will not know what to do with words.”

Angels believe words belong exclusively to them, but God hopes people will use words to “make something beautiful.” God fills sacks with words (including “long, difficult words,” “silly words,” and hard-to-spell words) and sends the angels to “put words into the mouths of all the people.” When angels complain some words are too difficult to understand or spell, God creates dictionaries and spelling lists. People begin using words, combining them into sentences. However, as people turn words into lies, curses, and gossip, God worries the angels may have been right. Then God hears people using words to create songs, poetry, jokes, prayers, and stories that even the angels love. Conveyed in a tone reminiscent of the Genesis Creation story, Sasso’s intangible ideas take root in Zoells' delicate pencil lines and soft watercolors rendered with artful naiveté. God appears as the sun, luminous in red, orange, yellow, and blue concentric circles, while angels are represented as smaller, multicolored, spiky orbs. After God’s gift of words, light and energy infuse the previously dull landscape with colorful scenes of people of many races laughing, singing, telling stories, dancing, and praying.

The gift of language becomes relevant and real in this original tale. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 18, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-947888-01-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Flyaway Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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An uplifting, rhyming picture book offering food for the soul.

A SPOONFUL OF FAITH

A mother teaches her daughter a special recipe to help feed her faith.

Layla, a young, brown-skinned girl, is ready yet nervous for her first day of school. Seeking a confidence boost, she goes in search of her mom—“’Cause mamas can help / when you need love and calm”—and finds her in the kitchen. “Hey, sweetie, sit here / Let’s make a quick meal / that’s full of good things / to help how you feel,” her mother suggests and fishes out a recipe book. The recipe for the meal includes many ingredients, but none of them are tangible. Instead, courage, “a spoonful of faith,” “dashes of kindness,” “handfuls of hope,” “pinches of prayers,” and warm hugs go into the mixing bowl. To concretize these virtues, the artwork uses a visual motif of hearts and flowers. Once the meal is ready, Layla hesitantly looks into the bowl, unsure what to make of the imaginary repast, but a word of wisdom from Mama helps her realize the true source of her emotional sustenance and strength. The illustrations, created using digital watercolor, pencil, and gouache brushes in Procreate, are soothing, with soft pastel colors. While God is mentioned, there are no references to any specific religion.

An uplifting, rhyming picture book offering food for the soul. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-301781-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked...

MOMMY'S KHIMAR

From a debut author-and-illustrator team comes a glimpse into a young American Muslim girl’s family and community as she walks around in “Mommy’s khimar,” or headscarf.

The star of this sunny picture book is a young girl who finds joy in wearing her mother’s khimar, imagining it transforms her into a queen, a star, a mama bird, a superhero. At the core of the story is the love between the girl and her mother. The family appears to be African-American, with brown skin and textured hair. The girl’s braids and twists “form a bumpy crown” under the khimar, which smells of coconut oil and cocoa butter. Adults in her life delight in her appearance in the bright yellow khimar, including her Arabic teacher at the mosque, who calls it a “hijab,” and her grandmother, who visits after Sunday service and calls out “Sweet Jesus!” as she scoops her granddaughter into her arms. Her grandmother is, apparently, a Christian, but “We are a family and we love each other just the same.” The illustrations feature soft pastel colors with dynamic lines and gently patterned backgrounds that complement the story’s joyful tone. The words are often lyrical, and the story artfully includes many cultural details that will delight readers who share the cheerful protagonist’s culture and enlighten readers who don’t.

With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked cultural group . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0059-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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