Perfect for one-on-one and small-group reading and guaranteed to provoke discussions around self-worth and social justice.

EVERY CHILD A SONG

A CELEBRATION OF CHILDREN’S RIGHTS

Celebrating the worth of every child and the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Spare free-verse text encourages each child to embrace their unique identity, but it also recognizes that they need and deserve the support of the community to reach their potential, in keeping with the UNCRC (selections from which appear in the backmatter). As the title says, each child is like a song. “Whatever melody a song sings, / each one is true and beautiful; / unique and special as your own.” A brown-skinned child with short, straight black hair skips down a road in an aerial view, a serene blue bird in the foreground. But in the next spread, a child stands alone, reaching for assistance as a throng of busy adults walks by, absorbed in their own business. While illustrations with sweeping splashes of rich color and minimal details don’t shy from depicting the chaos and danger for refugees in a small boat in a storm and the darkness of forced silence, hate, and war, the overarching tone is positive. A scene of a multiracial group of people striding (and rolling, for a child in a wheelchair) with purpose accompanies the hopeful text: “For together, we raise our voices / for the right of every song to sing out loud, bold and unafraid.” Front endpapers show a single flying bird while a flock of multicolored birds soars on the back endpapers. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10-by-22-inch double-page spreads viewed at 48% of actual size.)

Perfect for one-on-one and small-group reading and guaranteed to provoke discussions around self-worth and social justice. (foreword) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 22, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62371-872-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Crocodile/Interlink

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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Despite the name recognition of the author and relevance of the story, sweet yet inconsequential.

I COLOR MYSELF DIFFERENT

A debut picture book from the NFL quarterback who took a knee during the national anthem.

Kaepernick speaks directly to children about growing up Black in a White family. The story focuses on one incident: When he shares a drawing of his adoptive family with his class, other students ask why he’s the only brown-skinned one. But with reassurance from his mother, young Colin realizes he should take pride in his identity. Although he says, “I don’t know too many kids who look like me,” the bland, somewhat idealized illustrations show a classroom with children with a variety of skin tones, and the teacher is Black. The story includes a rather simplistic explanation of what it means to be adopted: “Ever since Mom wrapped me in that warm hug, I knew having brown skin and being adopted made me special.” Kaepernick adds, “I have brown eyes, a brown nose, and brown hands...just like the people who inspire, create, lead, and change the world.” The accompanying illustration depicts nine African American historical figures, including athletes famous for taking political stands: Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who raised their fists at the 1968 Olympics, and Muhammad Ali, as well as Huey Newton, Toni Morrison, Angela Davis, Audre Lorde, Ida B. Wells-Barnett, and Malcolm X. The historical roles of these individuals are explained in a brief addendum. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Despite the name recognition of the author and relevance of the story, sweet yet inconsequential. (“letter to the reader”) (Picture-book biography. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 5, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-338-78962-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: April 15, 2022

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Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants.

A WORLD TOGETHER

Large color photographs (occasionally composed of montages) and accessible, simple text highlight global similarities and differences, always focusing on our universal connections.

While child readers may not recognize Manzano, the Puerto Rican actress who played Maria on Sesame Street, adults will recognize her as a trusted diverse voice. In her endnote, she explains her desire to “encourage lively conversations about shared experiences.” Starting out with the familiar, home and community, the text begins with “How many WONDERFUL PEOPLE do you know?” Then it moves out to the world: “Did you know there are about 8 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet?” The photo essay features the usual concrete similarities and differences found in many books of this type, such as housing (a Mongolian yurt opposite a Hong Kong apartment building overlooking a basketball court), food (dumplings, pizza, cotton candy, a churro, etc.), and school. Manzano also makes sure to point out likenesses in emotions, as shown in a montage of photos from countries including China, Spain, Kashmir (Pakistan/India), and the United States. At the end, a world map and thumbnail images show the locations of all photos, revealing a preponderance of examples from the U.S. and a slight underrepresentation for Africa and South America.

Engaging, well-chosen images and a clear, coherent text illuminate the importance of empathy for the world’s inhabitants. (Informational picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 15, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4263-3738-3

Page Count: 32

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Review Posted Online: May 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2020

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