An innovative, refreshing, out-of-this-world tale about the incredible versatility of afro hair.

STELLA'S STELLAR HAIR

An astronomically creative mix of science, fantasy, and African American culture.

Stella, a little African American girl, needs to prepare for the Big Star Little Gala, but her hair isn’t “acting right”: “It twisted and turned, zigged and zagged, made loopity-loops and lots of curly Q’s.” A huge, swirly mix of purples and pinks with squiggles of yellow and green, Stella’s hair often dominates the page and dwarfs the child. She asks Momma to help, but she sends her daughter instead to Aunt Ofelia on Mercury. Ofelia gives her a “poofy-smooth style”; on Venus, Auntie Alma creates a “royal lion’s mane”; Earth’s Aunt Rubi fashions her hair into an “elegant crown”; and so on. Stella proceeds throughout the galaxy and finally to the sun. At each stop, an aunt gives Stella a hairdo reflective of the aunt’s own style and personality, but none fits Stella. Once helpful advice from Auntie Solana on the sun helps Stella realize the key to happiness with her hair, Stella attends the gala, completely satisfied, along with all of her beautiful Black aunts, sporting their plethora of hairstyles. In Moises’ friendly cartoon images, the vibrant colors change with the location and the atmospheric conditions. The backmatter explains all the different aunts’ hairstyles by speculating what style would be best adapted to the environment of each locale, if humans could live there. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 26.5% of actual size.)

An innovative, refreshing, out-of-this-world tale about the incredible versatility of afro hair. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Jan. 5, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-250-26177-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020

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This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez,...

MANGO, ABUELA, AND ME

Abuela is coming to stay with Mia and her parents. But how will they communicate if Mia speaks little Spanish and Abuela, little English? Could it be that a parrot named Mango is the solution?

The measured, evocative text describes how Mia’s español is not good enough to tell Abuela the things a grandmother should know. And Abuela’s English is too poquito to tell Mia all the stories a granddaughter wants to hear. Mia sets out to teach her Abuela English. A red feather Abuela has brought with her to remind her of a wild parrot that roosted in her mango trees back home gives Mia an idea. She and her mother buy a parrot they name Mango. And as Abuela and Mia teach Mango, and each other, to speak both Spanish and English, their “mouths [fill] with things to say.” The accompanying illustrations are charmingly executed in ink, gouache, and marker, “with a sprinkling of digital magic.” They depict a cheery urban neighborhood and a comfortable, small apartment. Readers from multigenerational immigrant families will recognize the all-too-familiar language barrier. They will also cheer for the warm and loving relationship between Abuela and Mia, which is evident in both text and illustrations even as the characters struggle to understand each other. A Spanish-language edition, Mango, Abuela, y yo, gracefully translated by Teresa Mlawer, publishes simultaneously.

This warm family story is a splendid showcase for the combined talents of Medina, a Pura Belpré award winner, and Dominguez, an honoree. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Aug. 25, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-7636-6900-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures.

PIPPA'S NIGHT PARADE

Pippa conquers a fear of the creatures that emerge from her storybooks at night.

Pippa’s “wonderfully wild imagination” can sometimes run “a little TOO wild.” During the day, she wears her “armor” and is a force to be reckoned with. But in bed at night, Pippa worries about “villains and monsters and beasts.” Sharp-toothed and -taloned shadows, dragons, and pirates emerge from her storybooks like genies from a bottle, just to scare her. Pippa flees to her parents’ room only to be brought back time and again. Finally, Pippa decides that she “needs a plan” to “get rid of them once and for all.” She decides to slip a written invitation into every book, and that night, they all come out. She tries subduing them with a lasso, an eye patch, and a sombrero, but she is defeated. Next, she tries “sashes and sequins and bows,” throwing the fashion pieces on the monsters, who…“begin to pose and primp and preen.” After that success, their fashion show becomes a nightly ritual. Clever Pippa’s transformation from scared victim of her own imagination to leader of the monster pack feels fairly sudden, but it’s satisfying nonetheless. The cartoony illustrations effectively use dynamic strokes, shadow, and light to capture action on the page and the feeling of Pippa's fears taking over her real space. Pippa and her parents are brown-skinned with curls of various textures.

A delicious triumph over fear of night creatures. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: Oct. 8, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5420-9300-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Two Lions

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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