An empowering picture book encourages children to develop their own voice, style, and personality in order to make an impact in the world.
A young Black girl invites young readers to “look around” at the world and reflect on what they will “do.../ or say.../ or make... / to express who you are.” With a camera in hand, she visits various places in her neighborhood—an art gallery, a sewing studio, and a planetarium, to name a few—and observes the many ways in which kids in her community are expressing themselves. Readers see another girl painting a mural, a boy with dreadlocks spinning music at a turntable, a marching band practicing, a choir singing, a spoken word artist performing, dancers and hula-hoopers in the park, and more. “Maybe your creative space is blank... / patiently waiting for you to fill it with powerful text” reads a double-page spread showing kids making signs for—and then participating in—a street protest. Another double-page spread shows kids getting their hair styled in a salon, and the text asks “Are you the canvas?” A current of lyricism runs through Dalton’s narrative, which is thoughtful and inquisitory (“Is there a place where you shine? A space you / fill with all the things that inspire you?”), reminding kids to take their time and reflect carefully as they figure out who they are and what they want to share with the world. Peoples’ artwork, rendered using oil on paper and illustration board, is reminiscent of child art and fittingly draws attention to itself as a created work through the use of painterly textures. All characters are Black.
Show kids the world is their oyster by giving them this thought-provoking book.(Picture book. 4-8)