Like a faithful teddy, sure to become a favorite for many readers.

LOUIS

A hug is a powerful thing.

Louis, a stuffed teddy bear, has grievances: His owner, a dark-haired kid with light-brown skin, has mistreated Louis in a variety of ways, including using the bear as a hankie, burying the toy in the sand, and subjecting him to the terrors of the washing machine. After Louis suffers the final indignity—almost being left behind on public transportation—the bear plans to make his escape. Savvy readers may surmise that Louis’ heart isn’t completely in this grand departure, as the teddy delays based on rain, cupcake-filled tea parties, and being the star of show-and-tell due to bravery during the bus incident. When the perfect moment to desert finally arrives, a last-minute hug helps Louis realize how much the kid loves and appreciates him. It’s a charming, genuinely sweet ending to a well-crafted story that leaves lots of openings for Rowan-Zoch’s boldly colored, crisp cartoon artwork to deliver a vibrant pop that will be appreciated in both large storytimes and intimate lap reads. Louis is marvelously expressive, panicking, glaring, and unexpectedly softening by turns. Caregivers and educators may see an opportunity in the story to engage in creative writing or storytelling based on the readers’ own favorite stuffed friends. Louis’ owner’s mom appears in one scene wearing a salwar kameez, suggesting the family is of South Asian heritage.

Like a faithful teddy, sure to become a favorite for many readers. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-49806-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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Heartfelt content for children who need to feel seen.

BEING YOU

Words addressed to children aimed at truth-telling, encouraging, and inspiring are accompanied by pictures of children of color going about their days.

“This story is about you,” the narrator opens, as a black boy looks up toward readers, a listening expression on his face. A multiracial group of children romp in a playground to encouraging words: “you are… / a dancer / a singer / in charge of the game.” Then comes a warning about the “whispers” out in the world that “tell you who you are / But only you and love decide.” There is advice about what to do when you “think there is nowhere safe”: “Watch a bird soar / and think, / Me too.” It asks readers to wonder: “If there was a sign on your chest / what would it say?” Children argue and show frustration and anger for reasons unclear to readers, then they hold up signs about themselves, such as “I am powerful” and “I am talented.” A girl looks hurt, and a boy looks “tough” until someone finds them “sitting there wondering / when the sky will blue.” While the words are general, the pictures specify a teacher, who is brown-skinned with straight black hair, as one who “can see you.” While young readers may find the wording unusual, even obscure in places, the nurturing message will not be lost.

Heartfelt content for children who need to feel seen. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-021-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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Wise and sometimes a bit wacky literary advice for the intergenerational family.

HOW TO READ TO A GRANDMA OR GRANDPA

From the How To... series

A pair of savvy grandchildren provides inspiration for family reading with their grandparents.

Like all good reading advocates, the children have thought of everything: where and how to choose books, where and when to read, and how to savor the good or not-so-good parts by rereading, discussion, and even acting out dramatic or humorous scenes. Overall, this double pair of siblings and perceptively keen elders ably models a love of reading. Amusing and endearing cartoon drawings colorfully depict a variety of other reading bonuses, such as book-inspired garden-bug investigations, science experiments, and moonlit backyard snuggles. Of course many of today’s grandparents are regularly involved in the care and nurturing of their grandkids, and many aspects of reading together are entertained, including silly ones like reading under the bed with a grandpa or a shared reading with long-distance grandparents via video chat. Making books part of everyday life is a steady message throughout. Within this quartet, the grandma has pale brown skin and the grandpa appears white, and one child’s skin is slightly lighter than the other’s.

Wise and sometimes a bit wacky literary advice for the intergenerational family. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: July 7, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5247-0193-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Knopf

Review Posted Online: March 25, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2020

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