A lovely story with many uses.

WALKING FOR WATER

HOW ONE BOY STOOD UP FOR GENDER EQUALITY

From the CitizenKid series

This true story shows how a boy in Malawi changed his family’s habits to improve gender equality.

Victor and Linesi are 8-year-old twins. Every morning, they say goodbye to Mama and race to the kachere tree, where they part ways. Victor, a boy, goes to school, but now Linesi, a girl, goes to the riverbed with a bucket to fetch water for the family, like the other women and older girls. At school, Victor enjoys English lessons from his funny teacher, and one day, Mr. Tambala talks about gender equality. The homework is to notice whether boys and girls are treated equally. After school, Victor notices that the girls do chores while the boys go to school, play games, and do homework. He decides to try to teach Linesi at night, but it doesn’t work. He talks to his family, and they agree to make a change: Victor and Linesi start taking turns going to school and fetching water. Soon, their friends make a similar change, and perhaps more changes will come to their village. This inspiring story is a thoughtful representation of a community on the brink of change. Victor shows how an individual’s actions can ripple out to change a culture and others’ lives. The joyful illustrations make clever use of full scenes and boxed vignettes to show activities, dreams, and choices within a visually monochromatic setting. The characters’ smiling faces defy stereotypes and offer hope. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A lovely story with many uses. (author's note, resources, glossary) (Informational picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: June 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-5253-0249-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kids Can

Review Posted Online: April 14, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2021

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A delightful story of love and hope.

OUR SUBWAY BABY

Families are formed everywhere—including large metropolitan mass-transit systems!

Baby Kevin, initially known as “Danny ACE Doe,” was found in the New York City’s 14th Street subway station, which serves the A-C-E lines, by one of his future fathers, Danny. Kevin’s other father, Pete (author Mercurio), serves as the narrator, explaining how the two men came to add the newborn to their family. Readers are given an abridged version of the story from Danny and Pete’s point of view as they work to formally adopt Kevin and bring him home in time for Christmas. The story excels at highlighting the determination of loving fathers while still including realistic moments of hesitation, doubt, and fear that occur for new and soon-to-be parents. The language is mindful of its audience (for example using “piggy banks” instead of “bank accounts” to discuss finances) while never patronizing young readers. Espinosa’s posterlike artwork—which presents the cleanest New York readers are ever likely to see—extends the text and makes use of unexpected angles to heighten emotional scenes and moments of urgency. The diversity of skin tones, ages, and faces (Danny and Pete both present white, and Kevin has light brown skin) befits the Big Apple. Family snapshots and a closing author’s note emphasize that the most important thing in any family is love. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.3-by-18-inch double-page spreads viewed at 43% of actual size.)

A delightful story of love and hope. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-525-42754-4

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: June 16, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2020

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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