Didactic it may be, but until our schools are bully-free, this provides kids an easy way to remember to STAND together and...




From the Help Me Become series

One of a line of character-building titles, this focuses on standing up to people who are bullying others.

Three short chapters show how the MVP Kids use STAND to stop the bullying: “Stand tall and be confident. Tell an adult if you run into trouble. Act bravely and walk away if you need to. Notice what is going on around you. Display kindness to others.” On a hike, Lucas refuses to ostracize an unpopular boy, befriending him instead. Faith stops two kids from “intimidating” another student. And Leo leans on his friends (much as he leans on his walker) for help standing up to Charlie when he picks on another kid. With its short, simple tales, follow-up questions about each story and its application to real life, and notes for adults, this is clearly meant for use in an educational setting. The notes focus on various forms of bullying (verbal, mental, social) and showing kindness to everyone, bullies included; empathizing with bullies, the bullied, and bystanders as well as using role play to practice responses; and getting adults involved to prevent future bullying. The book’s format and illustrations look like those found in early readers—short sentences and a sans serif font in different sizes and colors. The MVP Kids include two girls and six boys; three are brown, five are pale. Digital illustrations are as unvarnished as the text; this is a book that puts message above art.

Didactic it may be, but until our schools are bully-free, this provides kids an easy way to remember to STAND together and be kind. (Informational early reader. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-64255-232-4

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Real MVP Kids

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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Vital information for young media consumers; it couldn’t be timelier.


Charismatic robots populate this primer for kids growing up in an era when facts are considered debatable and opinions are oft expressed loudly and without empathy.

Rex tackles a very serious topic infrequently addressed in kids’ books: how to tell the difference between provable facts and far-less-provable opinions. To do this, Rex employs a handful of colorful and chatty robot pals who run through enough examples to make the distinctions clear. For instance, it’s a fact that the blue robot has two arms while the gold robot has four. However, while they both like to dance, it’s less certain there’s a definitive answer to the question: “Which of them has the coolest moves?” When the green and yellow robots share their preferences for ice cream (yes, robots eat ice cream, just add oil or nuts and bolts), it turns into a fight that might have come off a Twitter thread (“We are getting chocolate!” “No way, buckethead!”). Via a series of reboots, the robots learn how to respect opinions and engage in compromise. It’s a welcome use of skill-building to counter an information landscape filled with calls of “Fake news!” and toxic online discourse. Rex never says that these ’bots sometimes act like social media bots when they disagree, but he doesn’t have to. Perhaps most importantly, Rex’s robots demonstrate that in the absence of enough information, it’s perfectly fine to wait before acting.

Vital information for young media consumers; it couldn’t be timelier. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1626-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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An alphabet book to bring change, with the younger generation leading the way.

Nonviolent protests play a major part in history. Sanders wants to ensure that readers learn the importance of taking a stand at an early age. Comparisons to Innosanto Nagara’s A Is for Activist (2013) are inescapable, but this primer carries a bit more depth. It is a direct call to action. The spread for I and J, for instance, pleads: “Inquire. / Invite. / Inform. / Imagine. // Join others on the journey. Join others in the fight.” (The words beginning with I appear on protest signs, while the words beginning with J appear in the narrative text.) The page for S implores readers to “Stand up. / Speak out. / Sit down. / Sing loud. / Be silent.” While the spread for P? A pure white background that whispers a single word: “Pray.” Historical events such as the Delano grape strike (“Boycott! Boycott! Boycott!”) share the book with current ones, such as a protesting football player (“Take a knee”). Schorr’s matte, cut-paper illustrations are full of intricate parts, echoing the ways individuals weave together to form a community. Various races, ages, ethnicities, and abilities are all present. Adult-child interaction is still needed to lift this work to its full potential, but an author’s note and glossary help provide context for an engaging conversation.

Hopeful. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Sept. 25, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-2943-7

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 24, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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