An uplifting, intergenerational story.

MOMMY'S HOMETOWN

A child visits their mother’s hometown and is surprised to find it now differs from her recollections.

Mommy regales the young narrator with bedtime stories about a playful, carefree childhood. Against the backdrop of a verdant countryside and towering mountains, a lush river provided ample opportunity for Mommy and her friends to catch fish, splash, and treasure hunt. Idyllic and joyful, these vivid memories have given the child high expectations for an upcoming visit. A train car window offers the first glimpse of a vastly different landscape. Bustling streets and gleaming skyscrapers crowd the horizon, and the mountains struggle to be seen. The striking contrast between reality and anticipation both awes and disappoints the child. Yet while many things have changed, the river still flows through the city center. Hand in hand, Mommy and child wade in, re-creating the cherished moments of Mommy’s youth. The pair make their own memories in this special place, reinforcing that it is familial bonds and unconditional love that define home rather than physical surroundings. A tranquil warmth radiates from the illustrations, providing an underlying feeling of safety throughout the journey. Mommy and child are Korean, with black hair and pale skin. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

An uplifting, intergenerational story. (Picture book. 3-8)

Pub Date: April 12, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-5362-1332-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2022

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A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day.

MY DAY WITH GONG GONG

Spending a day with Gong Gong doesn’t sound like very much fun to May.

Gong Gong doesn’t speak English, and May doesn’t know Chinese. How can they have a good day together? As they stroll through an urban Chinatown, May’s perpetually sanguine maternal grandfather chats with friends and visits shops. At each stop, Cantonese words fly back and forth, many clearly pointed at May, who understands none of it. It’s equally exasperating trying to communicate with Gong Gong in English, and by the time they join a card game in the park with Gong Gong’s friends, May is tired, hungry, and frustrated. But although it seems like Gong Gong hasn’t been attentive so far, when May’s day finally comes to a head, it is clear that he has. First-person text gives glimpses into May’s lively thoughts as they evolve through the day, and Gong Gong’s unchangingly jolly face reflects what could be mistaken for blithe obliviousness but is actually his way of showing love through sharing the people and places of his life. Through adorable illustrations that exude humor and warmth, this portrait of intergenerational affection is also a tribute to life in Chinatown neighborhoods: Street vendors, a busker playing a Chinese violin, a dim sum restaurant, and more all combine to add a distinctive texture. 

A multilayered, endearing treasure of a day. (glossary) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-77321-429-0

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Annick Press

Review Posted Online: June 30, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2020

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A visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts.

ONE FAMILY

A playful counting book also acts as a celebration of family and human diversity.

Shannon’s text is delivered in spare, rhythmic, lilting verse that begins with one and counts up to 10 as it presents different groupings of things and people in individual families, always emphasizing the unitary nature of each combination. “One is six. One line of laundry. One butterfly’s legs. One family.” Gomez’s richly colored pictures clarify and expand on all that the text lists: For “six,” a picture showing six members of a multigenerational family of color includes a line of laundry with six items hanging from it outside of their windows, as well as the painting of a six-legged butterfly that a child in the family is creating. While text never directs the art to depict diverse individuals and family constellations, Gomez does just this in her illustrations. Interracial families are included, as are depictions of men with their arms around each other, and a Sikh man wearing a turban. This inclusive spirit supports the text’s culminating assertion that “One is one and everyone. One earth. One world. One family.”

A visually striking, engaging picture book that sends the message that everyone counts. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 26, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-374-30003-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2015

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