A true celebration of the endless creativity and resilience of children.

LUBNA AND PEBBLE

Lubna navigates the challenges of being a refugee: keeping happy—or rather, surviving—and passing the courage on.

She arrives with her dad as refugees to their temporary home, “a World of Tents,” with no visible toys and perhaps nothing at all. Lubna latches onto a pebble she finds on the beach after their crowded boat arrives at the shore. After this find, she “clutched Daddy’s hand and gripped her pebble. Somehow, she knew they’d keep her safe.” The larger-than-life, almost dreamy illustrations show readers what Lubna sees and feels, and the rawness of both text and images penetrates the heart. Lubna and Pebble become best friends, and she and her lovingly understanding father even create a nice home for it to face the cold winter, a shoebox with a tea towel. Then she meets another friend, Amir, a little boy who is alone. “This is my best friend, Pebble,” Lubna says. Amir smiles, and together they play under the stars, the illustrations taking on jewel tones that contrast their imaginary play with the drabness of the refugee camp. When Lubna hears the happy news about resettlement to a better place, she is first happy, then sad about leaving Amir behind. She makes a hard and selfless decision that night, to share her treasure with her young friend who needs to hang on. Lubna, her father, and Amir have olive skin and dark hair; their circumstances hint at Syrian origins, but no country is named.

A true celebration of the endless creativity and resilience of children. (Picture book. 5-12)

Pub Date: March 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55416-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Dial Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 26, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted...

CLAYMATES

Reinvention is the name of the game for two blobs of clay.

A blue-eyed gray blob and a brown-eyed brown blob sit side by side, unsure as to what’s going to happen next. The gray anticipates an adventure, while the brown appears apprehensive. A pair of hands descends, and soon, amid a flurry of squishing and prodding and poking and sculpting, a handsome gray wolf and a stately brown owl emerge. The hands disappear, leaving the friends to their own devices. The owl is pleased, but the wolf convinces it that the best is yet to come. An ear pulled here and an extra eye placed there, and before you can shake a carving stick, a spurt of frenetic self-exploration—expressed as a tangled black scribble—reveals a succession of smug hybrid beasts. After all, the opportunity to become a “pig-e-phant” doesn’t come around every day. But the sound of approaching footsteps panics the pair of Picassos. How are they going to “fix [them]selves” on time? Soon a hippopotamus and peacock are staring bug-eyed at a returning pair of astonished hands. The creative naiveté of the “clay mates” is perfectly captured by Petty’s feisty, spot-on dialogue: “This was your idea…and it was a BAD one.” Eldridge’s endearing sculpted images are photographed against the stark white background of an artist’s work table to great effect.

The dynamic interaction between the characters invites readers to take risks, push boundaries, and have a little unscripted fun of their own . (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 20, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-316-30311-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 29, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2017

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Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and...

GHOSTS

Catrina narrates the story of her mixed-race (Latino/white) family’s move from Southern California to Bahía de la Luna on the Northern California coast.

Dad has a new job, but it’s little sister Maya’s lungs that motivate the move: she has had cystic fibrosis since birth—a degenerative breathing condition. Despite her health, Maya loves adventure, even if her lungs suffer for it and even when Cat must follow to keep her safe. When Carlos, a tall, brown, and handsome teen Ghost Tour guide introduces the sisters to the Bahía ghosts—most of whom were Spanish-speaking Mexicans when alive—they fascinate Maya and she them, but the terrified Cat wants only to get herself and Maya back to safety. When the ghost adventure leads to Maya’s hospitalization, Cat blames both herself and Carlos, which makes seeing him at school difficult. As Cat awakens to the meaning of Halloween and Day of the Dead in this strange new home, she comes to understand the importance of the ghosts both to herself and to Maya. Telgemeier neatly balances enough issues that a lesser artist would split them into separate stories and delivers as much delight textually as visually. The backmatter includes snippets from Telgemeier’s sketchbook and a photo of her in Día makeup.

Telgemeier’s bold colors, superior visual storytelling, and unusual subject matter will keep readers emotionally engaged and unable to put down this compelling tale. (Graphic fiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: Sept. 13, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-545-54061-2

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

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