Review of Dream Street

Dream Street
by Tricia Elam Walker; illus. by Ekua Holmes
Primary, Intermediate, Middle School   Schwartz/Random    32 pp.    g
11/21    978-0-525-58110-9    $17.99
Library ed.  978-0-525-58111-6    $20.99
e-book ed.  978-0-525-58112-3    $10.99

Dream Street: a microcosm of the African Diaspora where relationships matter and dreams thrive. It’s “the best street in the world,” as described by the book’s offstage narrator. To reveal the fabric of this community — based on the childhood of cousins Walker (Nana Akua Goes to School, rev. 5/20) and Holmes (Black Is a Rainbow Color, rev. 1/20) — the author creates descriptive vignettes about individuals and families from many different backgrounds. Children play outside until the streetlights come on; Mr. Sidney, a dapper retired postman, reads the paper on his front stoop and tells all who walk by to make the great day they want to have; a girl named Belle catches butterflies in a jar but then releases them (she aspires to become a lepidopterist). Accompanied by Holmes’s lively and layered collage illustrations, these vignettes emphasize what each person contributes to Dream Street. From the youngest children to Ms. Sarah (a.k.a. the Hat Lady, “who has lived on Dream Street longer than anyone”), everyone has dreams that others honor. The images, created with acrylic paint, found and handmade papers, and fabric, display vibrant colors, intricate ­patterns, and detailed portraits that reveal the beauty of the neighborhood’s ­inhabitants. A stunning work of art that ­dismantles stereotypes about Black communities and portrays a place where love abounds.

From the September/October 2021 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Dr. Michelle H. Martin
Michelle H. Martin
Dr. Michelle H. Martin is the Beverly Cleary Professor for Children & Youth Services in the Information School at the University of Washington in Seattle.

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