A well-illustrated story of grief, compassion, friendship, and community, told with tender charm.

AUNTY JANE KNITS UP A STORM

Friends help when a grieving knitter adversely affects the weather in Wolfson’s picture book.

In this lovely, deceptively simple work about the death of a loved one, Aunty Jane knits while she cooks, takes a walk, and goes shopping. At night, she knits as Uncle Wally sits next to her in his comfy chair. When Wally dies, the yarn spooling out from Jane’s needles is dark gray. Soon “most of the town was covered in the fierce-looking storm Aunty was knitting up” as her “needles hissed like the wind.” Her young friends, Naomi and Xavier, and others in town comfort her, speaking of Wally and wearing colorful clothes she’d knitted for them. The expressive characters are rendered in vivid pen and ink, with illustrations that include a child using a wheelchair and a diverse mix of skin tones; lavish patterns and textures give fabrics and settings a sumptuous, three-dimensional look. When Aunty Jane can smile again—a mischievous cat named Stitch helps—bright-colored yarn begins appearing among dark clouds. The result, “perhaps Aunty Jane’s most spectacular knitted creation ever,” is celebratory, but not a glib resolution; it’s a segue to a moving coda that makes clear that a lost loved one will always be missed but that there can be room for happiness.

A well-illustrated story of grief, compassion, friendship, and community, told with tender charm.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: 978-1-03-914411-8

Page Count: 29

Publisher: FriesenPress

Review Posted Online: Aug. 30, 2022

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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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