A loving tribute to a history that should not be forgotten.

AFRICVILLE

Africville, a historic black community that was located on the shores of Nova Scotia, is described from a child’s perspective in this nostalgic picture book.

“Take me to the end of the ocean,” begins this homage. The artwork, in brightly colored oil and pastel on canvas, combines past and present. The opening spread shows a modern-day black girl arriving at the shore, “where waves come to rest and hug the harbor stones.” On shore, family, childhood, and community scenes from historic Africville await her. Some details are easy to imagine, like going to “watch the sea bring us all its treasures” and hearing “stories shared all around me.” Others are specific to Africville but evocative of childhood adventure, like meeting at the Caterpillar Tree and “rafting down at Tibby’s Pond.” Still other details spark curiosity, like blueberry duff and “where my great-grandmother’s name is marked in stone.” On the final spread, the modern child enjoys an ice cream cone at a reunion, facing out at readers. The endmatter describes a community that was vibrant but neglected, then demolished in the 1960s. The annual reunions initiated in 1983 and the building of a museum echo the note of optimism on the final spread: “where memories turn to dreams, and dreams turn to hope, and hope never ends.” The writing is spare but emotional, and the art brings the community to life.

A loving tribute to a history that should not be forgotten. (bibliography) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-77306-043-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Groundwood

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash.

JABARI JUMPS

Young Jabari decides today is the day he is going to jump from the diving board, even though it’s a little high and a little scary.

Jabari’s father and baby sister accompany him to the swimming pool in the city, where Jabari has already made up his mind about today’s goal: jumping off the diving board. “I’m a great jumper,” he says, “so I’m not scared at all.” But that’s not entirely true. Readers see Jabari play the waiting game as the other children (a diverse bunch) make their ways past him in line. Once Jabari finally begins to climb up, he slyly remembers that he forgot to “stretch.” The stalling techniques don’t faze his dad, who sees an opportunity for a life lesson. “It’s okay to feel a little scared,” offers his dad at the side of the pool. With renewed will, Jabari returns to the towering diving board, ready to embrace the feat. In her debut, Cornwall places her loving black family at the center, coloring the swimming pool and park beyond in minty hues and adding whimsy with digitally collaged newspaper for skyscrapers. A bird’s-eye view of Jabari’s toes clinging to the edge of the diving board as he looks way, way down at the blue pool below puts readers in his head and in the action.

This simple and sincere tale of working up courage to face fears makes quite a splash. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 9, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7838-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 6, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2017

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

THIS BOOK IS GRAY

A gray character tries to write an all-gray book.

The six primary and secondary colors are building a rainbow, each contributing the hue of their own body, and Gray feels forlorn and left out because rainbows contain no gray. So Gray—who, like the other characters, has a solid, triangular body, a doodle-style face, and stick limbs—sets off alone to create “the GRAYest book ever.” His book inside a book shows a peaceful gray cliff house near a gray sea with gentle whitecaps; his three gray characters—hippo, wolf, kitten—wait for their arc to begin. But then the primaries arrive and call the gray scene “dismal, bleak, and gloomy.” The secondaries show up too, and soon everyone’s overrunning Gray’s creation. When Gray refuses to let White and Black participate, astute readers will note the flaw: White and black (the colors) had already been included in the early all-gray spreads. Ironically, Gray’s book within a book displays calm, passable art while the metabook’s unsubtle illustrations and sloppy design make for cramped and crowded pages that are too busy to hold visual focus. The speech-bubble dialogue’s snappy enough (Blue calls people “dude,” and there are puns). A convoluted moral muddles the core artistic question—whether a whole book can be gray—and instead highlights a trite message about working together.

Low grade. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Dec. 1, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-4340-3

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: July 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more