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Imported from Spain, a daring and useful conversation starter.

A diverse group of animals’ beliefs about life after death correspond to various religions that go unnamed.

A cast of animals ranging from a goldfish to an elephant makes up the artists of the Galaxy Circus, where they risk their lives every day flying on trapezes, eating fire, being shot out of cannons, and otherwise defying death. “That is probably why they talk so much about death, wondering: What comes after this?” Each animal has a different answer. As the animals fall from the high wire one by one, their beliefs about the hereafter are shared with readers. Some believe that we go to heaven, another believes that we become spirits that can communicate with the living through the elements. Ramses the scarab beetle believes there will be an adventurous journey; others believe in reincarnation or hope to reach nirvana. Cat Frida believes “we live on in our creations and the memories of others.” The final spread shows the animals injured but alive and asks readers, “what do you believe?” From the first page, the illustrations draw readers in with distinctive personalities, thoughtful expressions, and intriguing setting details. Bright colors distinguish the spreads illustrating the imagined hereafter settings from the muted spreads showing the animals on a tightrope. Given the sensitive subject matter, the creators manage a careful, unbiased exploration that brings a huge question into focus for young minds. The book is marred only by slight leanings on stereotypical tropes (Fatima, a camel wearing a scarf, is dubbed “enchantress of the desert”; coyote Gerónimo’s depicted hereafter includes a tepee, a totem pole, and saguaros).

Imported from Spain, a daring and useful conversation starter. (Picture book. 6-10)

Pub Date: March 31, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-946071-31-6

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Syncretic Press

Review Posted Online: Jan. 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists.

How to raise money for a coveted poster: put your friends to work!

John, founder of the FUBU fashion line and a Shark Tank venture capitalist, offers a self-referential blueprint for financial success. Having only half of the $10 he needs for a Minka J poster, Daymond forks over $1 to buy a plain T-shirt, paints a picture of the pop star on it, sells it for $5, and uses all of his cash to buy nine more shirts. Then he recruits three friends to decorate them with his design and help sell them for an unspecified amount (from a conveniently free and empty street-fair booth) until they’re gone. The enterprising entrepreneur reimburses himself for the shirts and splits the remaining proceeds, which leaves him with enough for that poster as well as a “brand-new business book,” while his friends express other fiscal strategies: saving their share, spending it all on new art supplies, or donating part and buying a (math) book with the rest. (In a closing summation, the author also suggests investing in stocks, bonds, or cryptocurrency.) Though Miles cranks up the visual energy in her sparsely detailed illustrations by incorporating bright colors and lots of greenbacks, the actual advice feels a bit vague. Daymond is Black; most of the cast are people of color. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

It’s hard to argue with success, but guides that actually do the math will be more useful to budding capitalists. (Picture book. 7-9)

Pub Date: March 21, 2023

ISBN: 978-0-593-56727-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Dec. 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2023

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From the Zara's Rules series , Vol. 1

A charming contemporary story with a classic feel.

A 10 ¾-year-old girl weathers changes in her social circle—and her sense of self.

Dubbed “Queen of the Neighborhood” by beloved neighbor Mr. Chapman, who has sadly left Maryland for balmy Florida, Zara is apprehensive when a family with two kids moves into his house, potentially upsetting the delicate social balance. Readers familiar with Khan’s Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream books, set a few years after this series opener, will recognize the bustling Pakistani American Muslim household. Assertive, organized Zara and rambunctious 7-year-old Zayd live with their Mama and Baba; the siblings’ grandparents and uncle are integral parts of their daily lives. Zara and Zayd enjoy playing outside with their friends—Black sisters Jade and Gloria, White Alan, and Chinese American Melvin. Mr. Chapman always said that Zara knew how to “rule with grace and fairness,” but new arrivals Naomi and Michael, Jewish kids who are eager to engage socially, put this to the test. When Jamal Mamoo, Mama’s brother, brings over his Guinness World Records book, Zara decides that becoming a world-record holder is the boost her social status needs. Her humorous (and futile) attempts to make her mark ultimately lead her to being a more patient and understanding big sister and more flexible and supportive companion to friends old and new. Strong pacing, fluid prose, engaging hijinks, and heartwarming scenes of family life and outdoor play are complemented by expressive illustrations.

A charming contemporary story with a classic feel. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: April 19, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5344-9759-7

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 12, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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