A heartwarming picture book about the roles of courage, culture, and community in the journey of personal healing.

POWWOW DAY

In this contemporary story, an Indigenous tradition inspires hope in a young girl.

Powwow Day, a Native American social gathering, arrives, but River is still recovering from an unnamed illness and feels too weak to dance. Dressed in her jingle dress and matching moccasins, she longs to join her family and friends in the Grand Entry procession. She hears the drums—“BAM. BAM. BAM. BAM”—and watches the elders enter the circle with flags and feathers. The fancy dancers “twirl and ribbons whirl,” while the “grass dancers sway and weave themselves around the circle,” but River can’t “feel the drum’s heartbeat,” and her “feet stay still.” The emcee calls for the jingle dress dancers to enter the arena. Although River needs the ceremonial healing dance, she can’t do it. Thankfully, River’s friend says she will dance for her. The rows of shiny cones on the dresses make music as the jingle dancers move: “clink, clink, clink.” The girls “dance for the Creator, the ancestors, their families, and everyone’s health.” Watching her sister, cousins, and friend dance, River’s heart begins to open and conviction enters her soul. She finally feels the drumbeat fully, but is it her time to dance? Goodnight’s vibrant, energetic digital illustrations capture the beauty and intricacy of powwow regalia as well as the unique atmosphere of a powwow gathering. Together, the artwork and text sensitively portray and celebrate a powerful ritual that upholds the culture, healing traditions, and creative spirit of Native American communities. No specific tribe is mentioned in the story, though the backmatter mentions the Ponca and Omaha tribes.

A heartwarming picture book about the roles of courage, culture, and community in the journey of personal healing. (notes, author's notes, bibliography) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-58089-948-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Charlesbridge

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE SCHOOLS

From the My Purple World series

A color-themed vision of what school should be like.

In what amounts to a rehash of The World Needs More Purple People (2020), Bell and Hart address adult as well as young readers to explain what “curious and kind you” can do to make school, or for that matter the universe, a better place. Again culminating in the vague but familiar “JUST. BE. YOU!” the program remains much the same—including asking questions both “universe-sized” (“Could you make a burrito larger than a garbage truck?”) and “smaller, people-sized” (i.e., personal), working hard to learn and make things, offering praise and encouragement, speaking up and out, laughing together, and listening to others. In the illustrations, light-skinned, blond-haired narrator Penny poses amid a busy, open-mouthed, diverse cast that includes a child wearing a hijab and one who uses a wheelchair. Wiseman opts to show fewer grown-ups here, but the children are the same as in the earlier book, and a scene showing two figures blowing chocolate milk out of their noses essentially recycles a visual joke from the previous outing. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

The message is worthy, but this phoned-in follow-up doesn’t add anything significant. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 21, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-593-43490-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: April 27, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2022

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The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless.

THE WORLD NEEDS MORE PURPLE PEOPLE

A monohued tally of positive character traits.

Purple is a “magic color,” affirm the authors (both actors, though Hart’s name recognition is nowhere near the level of Bell’s), and “purple people” are the sort who ask questions, laugh wholeheartedly, work hard, freely voice feelings and opinions, help those who might “lose” their own voices in the face of unkindness, and, in sum, can “JUST BE (the real) YOU.” Unlike the obsessive protagonist of Victoria Kann’s Pinkalicious franchise, being a purple person has “nothing to do with what you look like”—a point that Wiseman underscores with scenes of exuberantly posed cartoon figures (including versions of the authors) in casual North American attire but sporting a wide range of ages, skin hues, and body types. A crowded playground at the close (no social distancing here) displays all this wholesome behavior in action. Plenty of purple highlights, plus a plethora of broad smiles and wide-open mouths, crank up the visual energy—and if the earnest overall tone doesn’t snag the attention of young audiences, a grossly literal view of the young narrator and a grandparent “snot-out-our-nose laughing” should do the trick. (This book was reviewed digitally with 10.4-by-20.6-inch double-page spreads viewed at 22.2% of actual size.)

The buoyant uplift seems a bit pre-packaged but spot-on nonetheless. (Picture book. 6-8)

Pub Date: June 2, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-593-12196-2

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: June 3, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2020

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