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Embracing friendship and community

The following picture books provide models for warmth, friendship, community-building, and inclusivity in ways that very young children can understand and embrace. David Soman’s inviting How to Two is a counting book that could also serve as a set of inclusivity instructions. A lone boy plays on a slide (“how to one”); when he joins […]

Review of Olive & Pekoe: In Four Short Walks

Olive & Pekoe: In Four Short Walks by Jacky Davis; illus. by Giselle Potter Preschool, Primary    Greenwillow    40 pp. 3/19    978-0-06-257310-0    $17.99 Pekoe is a large yellow puppy with energy and enthusiasm to spare; Olive is a small older dog with a much more subdued (one might even say jaded) outlook on life. Despite their […]

Review of The Home Builders

The Home Builders by Varsha Bajaj; illus. by Simona Mulazzani Preschool    Paulsen/Penguin    32 pp.    g 2/19    978-0-399-16685-3    $17.99 This picture book invites children to observe nature for themselves as a variety of creatures busily create their homes: “Do you see the home builders?” The builders work “under the earth, / Below […]

Review of I Am Farmer: Growing an Environmental Movement in Cameroon

I Am Farmer: Growing an Environmental Movement in Cameroon by Baptiste Paul and Miranda Paul; illus. by Elizabeth Zunon Primary    Millbrook    40 pp.    g 2/19    978-1-5124-4914-3    $19.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5415-4380-5    $19.99  Even as a young child Tantoh Nforba loves the rich soils of his native northwestern Cameroon, earning the nickname “Farmer” from his mocking classmates; […]

Review of Meet Miss Fancy

Meet Miss Fancy by Irene Latham; illus. by John Holyfield Primary    Putnam    32 pp.    g 1/19    978-0-399-54668-6    $17.99  Frank (an African American boy who looks to be about ten years old) already loves elephants, with “their flip-flap ears, their tree-stump feet and their swish-swish tails,” so when he hears that a circus elephant named Miss […]

Review of Let ’Er Buck!: George Fletcher, the People’s Champion

Let ’Er Buck!: George Fletcher, the People’s Champion by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson; illus. by Gordon C. James Primary, Intermediate    Carolrhoda    40 pp.    g 2/19    978-1-5124-9808-0    $18.99 e-book ed.  978-1-5145-4180-1    $18.99 Nelson (Bad News for Outlaws, rev. 11/09) returns to the Old West for this engrossing picture-book biography of African American cowboy and bronc buster George […]

Review of Undocumented: A Worker’s Fight

Undocumented: A Worker’s Fight by Duncan Tonatiuh; illus. by the author Middle School, High School    Abrams ComicArts    24 pp.  8/18    978-1-4197-2854-9   $19.99  “You don’t know our names but you’ve seen us.” The accompanying illustration is of Juan, an undocumented immigrant, with one hand raised in a fist and the other holding a megaphone from which the […]

Picture book love and community

These new picture books model self-love, strength in community, and pride in identity for very young children of color. Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel, illustrated by Shane W. Evans, is an affirmation of self-love for children of color. An exuberant brown-skinned girl recounts many situations in which she puts her “hands up”: playing peek-a-boo, […]

Review of Hands Up!

Hands Up! by Breanna J. McDaniel; illus. by Shane W. Evans Preschool, Primary    Dial    32 pp.    g 1/19    978-0-525-55231-4    $17.99  In this affirmation of self-love for children of color, an exuberant brown-skinned girl recounts many situations in which she puts her “hands up”: playing peek-a-boo as a very young child, then, as she gets older, […]

Review of What Is Given from the Heart

What Is Given from the Heart by Patricia C. McKissack; illus. by April Harrison Primary, Intermediate    Schwartz & Wade/Random    40 pp.    g  1/19    978-0-375-83615-2    $17.99 Library ed.  978-0-375-93615-9    $20.99 e-book ed.  978-0-375-98800-4    $10.99  From the late Patricia McKissack, a story of giving — even when it seems one has nothing to spare. James Otis and […]