THE OCEAN CALLS

The sea, with equal parts danger and thrill, makes an exciting training ground for a young haenyeo diver.

As the granddaughter of a haenyeo diver, young Dayeon yearns to learn this honorable trade from her grandmother.

On Jeju Island, at the southern end of the Korean peninsula, there lives a community of women called haenyeo who dive up to 30 meters underwater to gather shellfish. Without using any oxygen masks, the haenyeo divers harvest abalone, octopuses, and sea urchins by hand. The tradition is considered an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO, and the women who do this work are described as “indigenous marine biologists.” Many of them are over 70 years old. Dayeon understands the dangers involved with diving. “What if I can’t breathe? What if a shark comes? What if I can’t escape?” The familial determination that has been handed down along with diving skills helps her relax and reach the treasures at the bottom of the sea. The vibrant illustrations in cool, deep blue hues, punctuated by ochers and brick reds, capture the beauty of the natural world and lift the work up to near mythic proportions, befitting Dayeon’s perception that they are mermaids. The captivating endnotes provide more information on the tradition, with mesmerizing quotes from actual divers. In Cho and Snow’s celebration of this fascinating tradition, the risks and rewards are given only to the worthy—which takes practice, courage, and a grandmother’s love.

The sea, with equal parts danger and thrill, makes an exciting training ground for a young haenyeo diver. (Picture book. 5-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-1486-9

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: May 2, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

J.D. AND THE FAMILY BUSINESS

From the J.D. the Kid Barber series , Vol. 2

A strong second outing for Dillard and J.D.

Breakout kid barber J.D. embraces a summer of opportunity.

Readers met J.D. Jones just as he took his hometown of Meridian, Mississippi, by storm, winning himself community acclaim and a chair at the revered Hart and Sons barbershop in series opener J.D. and the Great Barber Battle(2021). What’s next for the haircut prodigy? School’s just getting out, and there’s so much life happening outside—if only one can escape home learning with the grandparents. J.D.’s sister, Vanessa, brings along multitalented mutual friend Jessyka to share an ambitious challenge: “Let’s start a YouTube channel!” Can they get millions of views and wow the whole world? They are already amazing at haircuts and hairstyles—all they need is to learn how to make a great YouTube video. The story models strategies for scripting short videos reflecting the templates of viral YouTube hair tutorials, inviting readers to not only see the journey of the characters, but maybe also practice these skills at home. This book is bound to educate all about some of the most storied and cherished traditions within the Black community. Bringing in Vanessa is a great touch to extend the series across gender, and hopefully she’ll get a chance to lead her own adventures. This book blends skill-building, entrepreneurship, and strong family values to give young Black children visions of what’s possible when they follow their passions and embrace their community.

A strong second outing for Dillard and J.D. (Fiction. 6-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 3, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-11155-0

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021

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RAFI AND ROSI MUSIC!

From the Rafi and Rosi series

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape.

The fourth installment in Delacre’s early-reader series centers on the rich musical traditions of Puerto Rico, once again featuring sibling tree frogs Rafi and Rosi Coquí.

Readers learn along with Rafi and Rosi as they explore bomba, plena, and salsa in three chapters. A glossary at the beginning sets readers up well to understand the Spanish vocabulary, including accurate phoneticization for non-Spanish speakers. The stories focus on Rafi and Rosi’s relationship within a musical context. For example, in one chapter Rafi finds out that he attracts a larger audience playing his homemade güiro with Rosi’s help even though he initially excluded her: “Big brothers only.” Even when he makes mistakes, as the older brother, Rafi consoles Rosi when she is embarrassed or angry at him. In each instance, their shared joy for music and dance ultimately shines through any upsets—a valuable reflection of unity. Informational backmatter and author’s sources are extensive. Undoubtedly these will help teachers, librarians, and parents to develop Puerto Rican cultural programs, curriculum, or home activities to extend young readers’ learning. The inclusion of instructions to make one’s own homemade güiro is a thoughtful addition. The Spanish translation, also by Delacre and published simultaneously, will require a more advanced reader than the English one to recognize and comprehend contractions (“pa’bajo-pa-pa’rriba”) and relatively sophisticated vocabulary.

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape. (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-89239-429-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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