Brantley-Newton delivers a book of poems featuring girls of all kinds.
The first few poems—“I Am a Canvas,” “The Day I Decided To Become Sunshine,” and “Warrior”—draw readers in through personal perspectives before “All in Together Girls” pulls out to a group perspective: “If we view each other with amazing grace / our America would be such a great place.” Characters express deep self-love in “I Love My Body” and mild angst in “Pimple.” A city girl longs to be a country girl, and a country girl longs to be a city girl. One girl is “weird,” one is shy, one is “mixed.” One girl wishes for a daddy; another lists her “Memawh’s Wisdom” on how to be “a great lady someday.” The girls are diverse in race, ethnicity, style, situation, relationships, and personality, and on the final spread, they all link up “like a paper chain / made of every single / color / … / pulling each other up / … / until our link crosses the world / like the change / we long to see.” Brantley-Newton’s attractive illustrations feature bright colors and layered textures and patterns, with such variety that each page has its own feel to suit its story. The poems are simple, upbeat, and affirming—a great reminder of what is to be gained when girls appreciate their own uniqueness and that of others.
A dynamic, uplifting, and welcoming world of girls. (Picture book/poetry. 4-10)