Both brilliant and bristling in its purpose.

RECOGNIZE!

AN ANTHOLOGY HONORING AND AMPLIFYING BLACK LIFE

A multifaceted, sometimes disheartening, yet consistently enriching primer on the unyielding necessity of those three words: Black Lives Matter.

Husband-wife duo Wade and Cheryl Willis Hudson curate and contribute to this collection of varied perspectives on the mattering of Black lives and how the fact of the infamous three-word call to action has been most put into question by America’s long White supremacist history, traumatic present, and potential future. Award-winning poets such as Carole Boston Weatherford and Nikki Grimes, children’s-book authors including Kelly Starling Lyons and Ibi Zoboi, visual artists like Keith Knight and Don Tate, and historic Black American figures like Frederick Douglass and Daisy Bates provide potent responses to incidents of anti-Black violence, mis- or underrepresentation of Black identities, and personal challenges in parenting or just existing while Black. They also reflect on the movement for Black lives that activists have codified recently with #BLM but nonetheless has an extensive, hard-fought history. When, for example, kid journalist Adedayo Perkovich recounts her learning about Seneca Village, the community of mostly Black Americans that were displaced to make way for New York’s Central Park, the threads that link the 19th-century village, a coastal Ghanaian site of centuries of enslavement and commerce of Black bodies, and the contemporary reminders that Black Lives Matter are poignantly presented for readers of all ages.

Both brilliant and bristling in its purpose. (artists' notes, contributor biographies, editors' note) (Anthology. 10-18)

Pub Date: Oct. 12, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-38159-5

Page Count: 208

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: June 29, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2021

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Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires.

LITTLE BLUE TRUCK'S VALENTINE

Little Blue Truck feels, well, blue when he delivers valentine after valentine but receives nary a one.

His bed overflowing with cards, Blue sets out to deliver a yellow card with purple polka dots and a shiny purple heart to Hen, one with a shiny fuchsia heart to Pig, a big, shiny, red heart-shaped card to Horse, and so on. With each delivery there is an exchange of Beeps from Blue and the appropriate animal sounds from his friends, Blue’s Beeps always set in blue and the animal’s vocalization in a color that matches the card it receives. But as Blue heads home, his deliveries complete, his headlight eyes are sad and his front bumper droops ever so slightly. Blue is therefore surprised (but readers may not be) when he pulls into his garage to be greeted by all his friends with a shiny blue valentine just for him. In this, Blue’s seventh outing, it’s not just the sturdy protagonist that seems to be wilting. Schertle’s verse, usually reliable, stumbles more than once; stanzas such as “But Valentine’s Day / didn’t seem much fun / when he didn’t get cards / from anyone” will cause hitches during read-alouds. The illustrations, done by Joseph in the style of original series collaborator Jill McElmurry, are pleasant enough, but his compositions often feel stiff and forced.

Little Blue Truck keeps on truckin’—but not without some backfires. (Board book. 1-4)

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-358-27244-1

Page Count: 20

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Jan. 19, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2021

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Riveting, brutal and beautifully told.

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WE WERE LIARS

A devastating tale of greed and secrets springs from the summer that tore Cady’s life apart.

Cady Sinclair’s family uses its inherited wealth to ensure that each successive generation is blond, beautiful and powerful. Reunited each summer by the family patriarch on his private island, his three adult daughters and various grandchildren lead charmed, fairy-tale lives (an idea reinforced by the periodic inclusions of Cady’s reworkings of fairy tales to tell the Sinclair family story). But this is no sanitized, modern Disney fairy tale; this is Cinderella with her stepsisters’ slashed heels in bloody glass slippers. Cady’s fairy-tale retellings are dark, as is the personal tragedy that has led to her examination of the skeletons in the Sinclair castle’s closets; its rent turns out to be extracted in personal sacrifices. Brilliantly, Lockhart resists simply crucifying the Sinclairs, which might make the family’s foreshadowed tragedy predictable or even satisfying. Instead, she humanizes them (and their painful contradictions) by including nostalgic images that showcase the love shared among Cady, her two cousins closest in age, and Gat, the Heathcliff-esque figure she has always loved. Though increasingly disenchanted with the Sinclair legacy of self-absorption, the four believe family redemption is possible—if they have the courage to act. Their sincere hopes and foolish naïveté make the teens’ desperate, grand gesture all that much more tragic.

Riveting, brutal and beautifully told. (Fiction. 14 & up)

Pub Date: May 13, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-385-74126-2

Page Count: 240

Publisher: Delacorte

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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