The creators’ matter-of-fact embrace of inclusion is the highlight of an otherwise uneven poetry collection.



Award-winning poet Singer explores the stumbles and triumphs that go hand in hand as preschoolers become big kids.

From a three-part poem that appears in three different sections to two poems for two voices, these 19 poems encapsulate the myriad experiences of a diverse cast of grade schoolers. Just as the featured accomplishments span a wide range of “firsts,” so do Singer’s observations span a variety of poetic forms and rhyming schemes. Free verse intermingles with snappy quatrains, and introspection mingles with shouts of joy. “We figure it out! / We let out a hoot. / We find in the doghouse / a big bag of loot!” at a “First Big-Kid Party.” However, the quality of these snapshots does not reflect the poet's previous noteworthy efforts. “Not big enough / to drive a car / (or my bike real far), / to grow a beard / (plus I’d look weird), / to stay up late / (like way past eight), / to own a phone… / But plenty big / to take a bus / without a fuss / and go to school / ALONE!” just doesn’t have her usual zing. Christy’s watercolor images capture gap-toothed grins and snaggle-brow frowns with equal aplomb. A hijab-wearing mother in a theater is pictured next to a ballpark scene featuring a baseball cap–wearing young lady.

The creators’ matter-of-fact embrace of inclusion is the highlight of an otherwise uneven poetry collection. (Picture book/poetry. 5-7)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62979-169-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Wordsong/Boyds Mills

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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An alphabetical tour of emotions.

This British import mixes words that many young kids will know, such as brave, kind, and mad (the last defined in the American sense, as angry), with less-familiar ones such as overwhelmed and vulnerable. It even features at least one word that may be new to adults: “X is for Xenial….Xenial is being welcoming to strangers.” Compounding the difficulty here, the visual image of a Black kid dressed as a magician hugging a rabbit they’ve pulled out of a hat does not exactly illustrate xeniality (xenialness?). Other illustrations do a better job of helping readers understand the words being introduced. The illustrations feature racially diverse children and are usually paired in each double-page spread: “A is for Anxious. Anxious is feeling really worried about something. / B is for Brave. Brave is being nervous about something and doing it anyway.” On the A page, a brown-skinned kid cowers from the dragon that encircles their bed, as in a nightmare. Across the gutter on the B page, the ferociously scowling child confronts the now-intimidated monster. Kids will get an immediate sense of those two words. Animals, real and imaginary, often play a role in the pictures. The book will be best shared one on one or in very small groups, when children can really spend time examining the pictures and talking about their own impression of what is happening in each picture. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A mixed bag. (word list) (Picture book. 5-7)

Pub Date: Sept. 14, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-20519-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2021

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A warm, informative, and entertaining biography of a pioneering scholar, lawyer, and judge.


From the You Are a Star series

In this first volume of a new nonfiction series, journalist Robbins regales readers with tales of the notorious RBG, former associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Conversational first-person narration, inset graphics, fact boxes, and appealing digital illustrations combine to paint a well-rounded picture of Ruth Bader Ginsburg from childhood to adulthood. Readers will be interested to learn about RBG’s formative years growing up in Brooklyn, New York; her struggles with sexism; her supportive family; and how she stood up for women, immigrants, people of color, and same-sex couples seeking fair treatment under the law during her long, illustrious career. Bader Ginsburg’s strong spirit, unrivaled work ethic, sense of humor, and dedication to equality and justice shine through in this telling. Details that youngsters have likely not considered—for example, the lack of female bathrooms in male-dominated spaces such as law schools and the Supreme Court—capture the time period and show the realities of the everyday sexism RGB faced. The closing spread extends a compelling invitation: “Won’t you join us in making the world a better place?” Although the text can sometimes feel a bit cloying, overall the story bubbles with enthusiasm and interesting tidbits that will draw children in.

A warm, informative, and entertaining biography of a pioneering scholar, lawyer, and judge. (author’s note, notes, timeline, resources, glossary) (Picture book biography. 5-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-76766-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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