A beautiful story of remembering the departed by passing on traditions.

SATURDAYS ARE FOR STELLA

George loses his grandmother but gains a baby sister in this touching picture book about family connections.

“George loved Saturdays. Saturdays were for Stella,” George’s grandmother, a Black woman with a short, curly white Afro. Whether they spend the day out—at the park or the museum, or doing fun things downtown—or stay in and play and bake, days with Stella are filled with fun and love. One Saturday, however, the bespectacled brown-skinned boy is ready for his day with Stella, but he finds his parents (a Black man and a White woman) crying. They explain that he won’t be seeing Stella again. “From then on, George hated Saturdays.” His favorite things become reminders of sadness and loss. But his parents are preparing for something—his mother is pictured in a maternity dress—and one day, a new Stella appears in his life: a brown baby with a light Afro. With baby Stella in his life, Saturdays become as much fun as they once were; George shows Stella everything he learned from his grandmother. This lovely story uses repetition and charming detail to celebrate life’s cycles and family connections that never end. The text and cheerful pictures work together to capture the warmth and comfort of togetherness as well as the gloom of loss, which, the story assures readers, needn’t last forever.

A beautiful story of remembering the departed by passing on traditions. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: Aug. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-62414-921-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Page Street

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2020

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Positively refreshing.

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HAIR LOVE

A black girl helps her dad learn how to give her the perfect hairstyle for a very special day.

Zuri’s voluminous head of hair “has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way.” She is pictured asleep with a large Afro framing her face. She is proud of her hair, which she sometimes wears in braids with beads like a princess and other times in pigtail puffs. But today is a special day. She knows Daddy is “worn-out” and probably needs a break, so she lets him sleep in while she looks up hairstyles on a tablet. When Daddy wakes and offers to help, he tries a series of hairstyles that just don’t work. Finally, Zuri grabs some hair supplies and shows him a tutorial. “Watching carefully… / Daddy combed, / parted, oiled, and twisted. / He nailed it!” Zuri is lovely and happy with her freshly done hairstyle, and when Mommy arrives to their “Welcome Home” sign, she loves Zuri’s look too. The digital illustrations feature details that feel just right: Zuri’s thick, textured hair, Daddy’s locs and tattoo, and dark-skinned Mom’s bright headwrap. While it’s unclear where Mommy is returning from (she is dressed casually and has a rolling black suitcase), this authentic depiction of a loving and whole black family broadens the scope of representation.

Positively refreshing. (Picture book. 4-9)

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-55336-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Kokila

Review Posted Online: March 3, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2019

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A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre.

SNOW PLACE LIKE HOME

From the Diary of an Ice Princess series

Ice princess Lina must navigate family and school in this early chapter read.

The family picnic is today. This is not a typical gathering, since Lina’s maternal relatives are a royal family of Windtamers who have power over the weather and live in castles floating on clouds. Lina herself is mixed race, with black hair and a tan complexion like her Asian-presenting mother’s; her Groundling father appears to be a white human. While making a grand entrance at the castle of her grandfather, the North Wind, she fails to successfully ride a gust of wind and crashes in front of her entire family. This prompts her stern grandfather to ask that Lina move in with him so he can teach her to control her powers. Desperate to avoid this, Lina and her friend Claudia, who is black, get Lina accepted at the Hilltop Science and Arts Academy. Lina’s parents allow her to go as long as she does lessons with grandpa on Saturdays. However, fitting in at a Groundling school is rough, especially when your powers start freak winter storms! With the story unfurling in diary format, bright-pink–highlighted grayscale illustrations help move the plot along. There are slight gaps in the storytelling and the pacing is occasionally uneven, but Lina is full of spunk and promotes self-acceptance.

A jam-packed opener sure to satisfy lovers of the princess genre. (Fantasy. 5-8)

Pub Date: June 25, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-35393-8

Page Count: 128

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2019

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