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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Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture...

WHEN I PRAY FOR YOU

Turner adds another title to his picture-book series that highlights the miracles in the mundane (When God Made Light, 2018, etc.).

In the vein of children’s-bookshelf stalwart Oh, the Places You’ll Go, Turner’s rhyming text includes both prayers and life advice for a growing child, beginning with infancy and moving on to adolescence. At times the rhyme and meter are strained, muddling meaning and making the tempo feel occasionally awkward when read aloud. Overall, though, the book executes its mission, presenting Christian theological truths within the rhythmic inspirational text. For this third series installment Turner’s text is paired with a new illustrator, whose bright illustrations of wide-eyed children have great shelf appeal. While David Catrow’s previous illustrations in the series featured effervescent black protagonists, the child in Barnes’ illustrations appears white, though she occupies an otherwise diverse world. While illustrated as a prayer from a mother for her daughter, the text itself is gender neutral.

Though it will never usurp Dr. Seuss, it will still find a home where Christian families of faith seek inspirational picture books. (Picture book/religion. 3-6)

Pub Date: Feb. 19, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-52565058-4

Page Count: 48

Publisher: WaterBrook

Review Posted Online: Dec. 5, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2019

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The dual focus on friendship and diversity makes this choice a winner.

OUR FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR

Musa shares Eid with his new kindergarten classroom and learns about other students’ favorite days of the year as he makes friends with children from different backgrounds.

At the beginning of the school year, teacher Ms. Gupta, who wears a bindi, tells the children the faces in this room will become their closest friends. Brown-skinned Musa can’t imagine it. But when the teacher says that everyone will share their favorite day of the year so they can all celebrate it together, Musa is elated. He shares Eid with his classmates. His mother comes in to help, wearing a hijab, and they serve the class foods from various cultures within Islam. “Everyone could see why Eid was Musa’s favorite.” When the other students share their favorite days, they are similarly received by the class: Mo shares Rosh Hashanah, with help from his family, two men wearing kippot who share his light skin and brown hair and a brown-skinned child with black hair; Moisés shares Christmas and Las Posadas; and Kevin shares Pi Day. At the end of the year, they have become good friends. This celebration of diversity and friendship includes lush descriptions of each holiday and can serve as an entry point for any one of them. Bell’s textured illustrations are festive and youthful, picturing a diverse, child-centered world. The endpapers are particularly intriguing, with quiltlike squares picturing various cultural symbols; further information on each of the four holidays appears in the backmatter.

The dual focus on friendship and diversity makes this choice a winner. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8563-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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