A unique and beautiful combination of poetic story and expressive art.

A STORY ABOUT AFIYA

A young girl wears a special white dress that records her day’s experiences in this story by Jamaican poet Berry.

Afiya’s “fine black skin…shows off her white clothes,” a summer dress that she wears every day and washes every night. By day, the “frock” picks up images of whatever Afiya passes among—sunflowers, red roses, butterflies, animals, fish, or falling leaves. By night, the imprints stay when she washes her dress, but in the morning, her dress is white again, ready for new patterns and colors to impress themselves upon it. Afiya is “amazed” at the wonders she finds on her dress, and readers will be amazed at the beauty of Cunha’s artistic rendering. Afiya’s hair surrounds her head like a crown, and the fantastical colors of her natural world, landscapes dominated by muted pinks, blues, and burnt yellow, all serve to enhance the beauty of Afiya’s dark skin. The spare, matte illustrations offer a feast of images to set the imagination soaring while the surreal story and its unusual language turn the wheels of the mind.

A unique and beautiful combination of poetic story and expressive art. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-911373-33-9

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lantana

Review Posted Online: Feb. 9, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

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A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite.

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AFTER THE FALL (HOW HUMPTY DUMPTY GOT BACK UP AGAIN)

Humpty Dumpty, classically portrayed as an egg, recounts what happened after he fell off the wall in Santat’s latest.

An avid ornithophile, Humpty had loved being atop a high wall to be close to the birds, but after his fall and reassembly by the king’s men, high places—even his lofted bed—become intolerable. As he puts it, “There were some parts that couldn’t be healed with bandages and glue.” Although fear bars Humpty from many of his passions, it is the birds he misses the most, and he painstakingly builds (after several papercut-punctuated attempts) a beautiful paper plane to fly among them. But when the plane lands on the very wall Humpty has so doggedly been avoiding, he faces the choice of continuing to follow his fear or to break free of it, which he does, going from cracked egg to powerful flight in a sequence of stunning spreads. Santat applies his considerable talent for intertwining visual and textual, whimsy and gravity to his consideration of trauma and the oft-overlooked importance of self-determined recovery. While this newest addition to Santat’s successes will inevitably (and deservedly) be lauded, younger readers may not notice the de-emphasis of an equally important part of recovery: that it is not compulsory—it is OK not to be OK.

A validating and breathtaking next chapter of a Mother Goose favorite. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 3, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-62672-682-6

Page Count: 45

Publisher: Roaring Brook Press

Review Posted Online: July 17, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2017

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Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children.

THE NIGHT IS YOURS

On hot summer nights, Amani’s parents permit her to go outside and play in the apartment courtyard, where the breeze is cool and her friends are waiting.

The children jump rope to the sounds of music as it floats through a neighbor’s window, gaze at stars in the night sky, and play hide-and-seek in the moonlight. It is in the moonlight that Amani and her friends are themselves found by the moon, and it illumines the many shades of their skin, which vary from light tan to deep brown. In a world where darkness often evokes ideas of evil or fear, this book is a celebration of things that are dark and beautiful—like a child’s dark skin and the night in which she plays. The lines “Show everyone else how to embrace the night like you. Teach them how to be a night-owning girl like you” are as much an appeal for her to love and appreciate her dark skin as they are the exhortation for Amani to enjoy the night. There is a sense of security that flows throughout this book. The courtyard is safe and homelike. The moon, like an additional parent, seems to be watching the children from the sky. The charming full-bleed illustrations, done in washes of mostly deep blues and greens, make this a wonderful bedtime story.

Vital messages of self-love for darker-skinned children. (Picture book. 3-7)

Pub Date: July 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55271-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: March 17, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2019

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