Grown-ups will enjoy reading this regularly with the children in their lives: The reminders benefit us all.

READ REVIEW

I AM HUMAN

A BOOK OF EMPATHY

Verde and Reynolds (I am Yoga, 2015; I Am Peace, 2017) team up again, this time to explore what it means to be human.

A child in red-striped shirt and blue jeans explores the range of possibilities open to them as a human being. Starting with “I was born. A miracle! One of billions but unique!” the narrator lists activities (“I am always learning”; “I have BIG dreams”) and feelings (“I am amazed by nature”). After rejoicing in the positive, the child finds that they sometimes make mistakes, hurt others, and are hurt. They explore the difficult sides of being human: fear and sadness. Here, the colors of the illustrations dull to a greyish blue. But they have a solution. They can “make choices” and “move forward” with “thoughtfulness” (giving flowers to that friend they hurt). When the child chooses kindness, compassion, listening, and saying sorry, they find that they are connected to everyone, and they resolve to keep trying, because “I am full of hope. I am human.” Reynolds’ simple line drawings with bursts of color have become iconic, and they serve the simple, affirming text with their own vision of the emotions and possibilities we humans have in this wide world. He depicts the protagonist with brown skin and black, curly hair amid a multiracial gathering of other children and adults. An author’s note guides readers through a loving-kindness meditation as an example of how one can choose to improve one’s relationships with others.

Grown-ups will enjoy reading this regularly with the children in their lives: The reminders benefit us all. (Picture book. 3-9)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4197-3165-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 16, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2018

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This deeply satisfying story offers what all children crave when letting go—security and a trusted companion.

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  • Caldecott Honor Book

SLEEP LIKE A TIGER

The stages and script preceding this child’s passage into dreamland are so appealing they will surely inspire imitation.

When the protagonist announces that she is not sleepy, her wise parents counter that they are not requiring sleep, only pajama-wearing, face-washing and teeth-brushing. She then feels so good that “she loved / …stretching her toes / down under the crisp sheets, / lying as still as an otter / floating in a stream.” Logue’s words lull and caress as parents and child converse about how and where animals sleep. (Many appeared on earlier pages as toys.) Alone, the youngster replays each scene, inserting herself; the cozy images help her relax. Zagarenski’s exquisite compositions are rendered digitally and in mixed-media on wood, offering much to ponder. The paintings are luminous, from the child’s starry pajamas to the glowing whale supporting her sleep journey. Transparent layers, blending patterns, complex textures and wheeled objects add to the sense of gentle movement. The tiger, both the beloved cloth version and the real deal, is featured prominently; it is the child who contributes this example, narrating the connection between strength and rest. When sleep arrives, the stuffed animal is cradled in her arms; she leans against the jungle beast, and he clings to her doll.

This deeply satisfying story offers what all children crave when letting go—security and a trusted companion. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-547-64102-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: Aug. 8, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2012

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A warm and necessary message of empowerment for black children, helping them see that raising their hands is a celebration...

HANDS UP!

This picture book offers a different take on a black body raising “hands up.”

Vibrant, colorfully textured illustrations show different displays of black children raising hands, such as playing peekaboo, getting dressed, and other mundane activities. The book follows one little girl as she puts her hands up to do chores, to reach for books on a high shelf at the library, and even to assume the fifth position in ballet class. She holds up her bun as her grandmother does her hair, throws her arms up “in praise and worship,” and hoists a trophy after a victorious basketball game. Riding her bike with her hands up results in a fall, but there is a caring adult there to pick her back up. McDaniel sends a positive and affirming message that normalizes for black children the gesture of raising their hands, redeeming it from the very negative, haunting images of black people raising their hands while being confronted by police. The book closes with a bold illustration of children of all colors raising their hands and holding signs such as “Water = Life,” “Spread Love,” and “Black Lives Matter.” Evans employs a pastel palette that amplifies McDaniel’s sunny message. Outlines are done in purple, blue, brown—there are no literally black marks in this book.

A warm and necessary message of empowerment for black children, helping them see that raising their hands is a celebration of their humanity. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55231-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial

Review Posted Online: Nov. 12, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2018

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