A gracious, warm, and loving celebration of community and gratitude.

WE ARE GRATEFUL

OTSALIHELIGA

According to storyteller Sorell, the Cherokee people always express gratitude for the little things they are given by saying the phrase, “Otsaliheliga,” or “we are grateful.”

Raised in the Cherokee Nation, Sorell intentionally crafts a narrative that simultaneously embraces modernity and a traditional presentation of Cherokee community and way of life. Throughout, the measured text reminds readers that in all things “we say otsaliheliga.” Colorful, folk art–style illustrations show Cherokee people during ceremonies, in family gatherings large and small, and outdoors enjoying each of the four seasons, always expressing gratitude. The scenes are contemporary; one shows a father taking care of his children, engaging in a positive parenting role, while another depicts a family seeing off a relative who is leaving for deployment in the military, underscoring that Cherokee people serve their country. Children participate in rites and in family outings with adults, and they also play traditional games such as stickball and plant strawberries, a practice that reminds their people to embrace peace with one another. The variety of skin tones represented in the illustrations likewise depicts a present-day reflection of the diversity that exists within the Cherokee people. Occasional Cherokee words are written in Romanized form, phonetically, in Cherokee characters, and in English—a lovely grace note.

A gracious, warm, and loving celebration of community and gratitude. (glossary, author’s note, Cherokee syllabary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 4, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-58089-772-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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A useful primer for socioemotional growth.

I AM OKAY TO FEEL

Queer Eye star Karamo Brown and his son Jason “Rachel” Brown affirm that all feelings—even negative ones—are OK.

A round-faced boy with brown skin, big brown eyes, and a bright smile walks outside, talking with his dad about feelings. With the son’s speech printed in blue and Dad’s in black, the boy announces that he’s happy and shows it by jumping and spinning while Dad dances. The book’s palette, which often reflects the boy’s emotional state, shifts drastically when a thunderstorm blows in as the sky swirls with patterns in deep blue and purple, and a thick yellow lightning bolt blasts through—a dramatic scene that represents the boy’s perception of the turbulent weather as he sits on the ground crying, hugging his knees. Dad assures him that it’s all right to feel and express fear and helps him calm these negative emotions by encouraging him to stretch and breathe deeply. While the book’s lesson is conveyed in a slightly heavy-handed manner, it’s a good message, and readers will appreciate seeing a story that centers a Black father and son dispelling the stereotype that men and boys—especially those of color—don’t or shouldn’t express emotions. The backmatter includes an emotion wheel with the boy showing a range of facial expressions, accompanied by activities and questions. The acronym “FEEL OKAY” offers opportunities to practice discussing emotions. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A useful primer for socioemotional growth. (authors’ note) (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63893-010-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Zando

Review Posted Online: Sept. 14, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2022

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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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