An aspirational vision in which inclusivity is as American as (apple) pie.

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PIE IS FOR SHARING

A delectable, festive celebration of pluralistic community.

Frontmatter illustrations depict a white mother and Asian father with their two biracial children. They are packing up pies to share at a lakeside picnic, which takes place in a setting that seems based on Lake Champlain in northern Vermont, where Chin and his family reside (as revealed in the illustrator bio). The possibly autobiographical illustrative elements are nowhere dictated by Ledyard’s spare, poetic text, but they may explain the powerful sense of community and affection that defines each spread as the central family interacts with a multiracial cast of characters with diverse skin tones and hair textures. They share pie, yes, but also a book, a ball, a climbing tree, a jump-rope, and then intangibles such as time, stories, words and music, and so on. The culminating illustration shows the assembled crowd gazing at fireworks, which may make readers recall subtle red-white-and-blue plates and picnic blanket. “And a blanket? A breeze? The sky? These are for sharing. // Just like pie” reads the closing text. This isn’t a flag-waving Fourth of July story, but it can be read as a gentle yet firm call for American readers to reflect on and embrace the ideal of pluralism.

An aspirational vision in which inclusivity is as American as (apple) pie. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: May 15, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-62672-562-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Neal Porter/Roaring Brook

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2018

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A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

I AM ENOUGH

A feel-good book about self-acceptance.

Empire star Byers and Bobo offer a beautifully illustrated, rhyming picture book detailing what one brown-skinned little girl with an impressive Afro appreciates about herself. Relying on similes, the text establishes a pattern with the opening sentence, “Like the sun, I’m here to shine,” and follows it through most of the book. Some of them work well, while others fall flat: “Like the rain, I’m here to pour / and drip and fall until I’m full.” In some vignettes she’s by herself; and in others, pictured along with children of other races. While the book’s pro-diversity message comes through, the didactic and even prideful expressions of self-acceptance make the book exasperatingly preachy—a common pitfall for books by celebrity authors. In contrast, Bobo’s illustrations are visually stunning. After painting the children and the objects with which they interact, such as flowers, books, and a red wagon, in acrylic on board for a traditional look, she scanned the images into Adobe Photoshop and added the backgrounds digitally in chalk. This lends a whimsical feel to such details as a rainbow, a window, wind, and rain—all reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon. Bobo creates an inclusive world of girls in which wearing glasses, using a wheelchair, wearing a head scarf, and having a big Afro are unconditionally accepted rather than markers for othering.

A pro-girl book with illustrations that far outshine the text. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-06-266712-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2018

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A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself.

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  • New York Times Bestseller

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THE DAY YOU BEGIN

School-age children encounter and overcome feelings of difference from their peers in the latest picture book from Woodson.

This nonlinear story centers on Angelina, with big curly hair and brown skin, as she begins the school year with a class share-out of summer travels. Text and illustrations effectively work together to convey her feelings of otherness as she reflects on her own summer spent at home: “What good is this / when others were flying,” she ponders while leaning out her city window forlornly watching birds fly past to seemingly faraway places. López’s incorporation of a ruler for a door, table, and tree into the illustrations creatively extends the metaphor of measuring up to others. Three other children—Rigoberto, a recent immigrant from Venezuela; a presumably Korean girl with her “too strange” lunch of kimchi, meat, and rice; and a lonely white boy in what seems to be a suburb—experience more-direct teasing for their outsider status. A bright jewel-toned palette and clever details, including a literal reflection of a better future, reveal hope and pride in spite of the taunting. This reassuring, lyrical book feels like a big hug from a wise aunt as she imparts the wisdom of the world in order to calm trepidatious young children: One of these things is not like the other, and that is actually what makes all the difference.

A must-have book about the power of one’s voice and the friendships that emerge when you are yourself. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 28, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-399-24653-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Nancy Paulsen Books

Review Posted Online: June 11, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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