An accessible, all-too-timely manifesto for young activists (and everyone else).

OH, THE THINGS WE'RE FOR!

Rhyming Seuss-esque verse paired with striking posterlike illustrations calls readers to action.

Nagara’s direct, pragmatic approach to activism for a child audience reaches new levels of specificity and real-world application in this book: “Let’s also be clear that harm has been done. / Futures were stolen by sword and by gun. / We can’t flip a switch / and say that we’re there. / A history of injustice / takes more to repair.” Vibrant colors infuse Nagara’s expressive, textured illustrations, which feature a diverse range of humans, protest signs, and symbolic as well as literal depictions of societal issues and potential solutions. A double-page spread composed entirely of overlapping words and phrases such as “DISABILITY ACCESS,” “WILDERNESS PRESERVES,” “CULTURALLY RESPONSIVE EDUCATION,” and “INDIGENOUS SOVEREIGNTY!” invites further research and discussion. The cover features a child with chin-length curly black hair, black eyes, and brown skin posed like the iconic Rosie the Riveter, and, although the visual narrative does not center or even name any characters, this child and several other figures do reappear throughout. Observant readers may connect textual examples to current events. The book concludes with a blank page for readers to list their own solutions to further the causes they support; no resources for further reading or discussion are included. (This book was reviewed digitally with 11.3-by-16.8-inch double-page spreads viewed at 68% of actual size.)

An accessible, all-too-timely manifesto for young activists (and everyone else). (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Oct. 6, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-64421-014-7

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Triangle Square Books for Young Readers

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2020

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A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning.

THE MAGICAL YET

Children realize their dreams one step at a time in this story about growth mindset.

A child crashes and damages a new bicycle on a dark, rainy day. Attempting a wheelie, the novice cyclist falls onto the sidewalk, grimacing, and, having internalized this setback as failure, vows to never ride again but to “walk…forever.” Then the unnamed protagonist happens upon a glowing orb in the forest, a “thought rearranger-er”—a luminous pink fairy called the Magical Yet. This Yet reminds the child of past accomplishments and encourages perseverance. The second-person rhyming couplets remind readers that mistakes are part of learning and that with patience and effort, children can achieve. Readers see the protagonist learn to ride the bike before a flash-forward shows the child as a capable college graduate confidently designing a sleek new bike. This book shines with diversity: racial, ethnic, ability, and gender. The gender-indeterminate protagonist has light brown skin and exuberant curly locks; Amid the bustling secondary cast, one child uses a prosthesis, and another wears hijab. At no point in the text is the Yet defined as a metaphor for a growth mindset; adults reading with younger children will likely need to clarify this abstract lesson. The artwork is powerful and detailed—pay special attention to the endpapers that progress to show the Yet at work.

A solid if message-driven conversation starter about the hard parts of learning. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 14, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-368-02562-1

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion/LBYR

Review Posted Online: Dec. 8, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2020

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While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of...

ON THE FIRST DAY OF KINDERGARTEN

Rabe follows a young girl through her first 12 days of kindergarten in this book based on the familiar Christmas carol.

The typical firsts of school are here: riding the bus, making friends, sliding on the playground slide, counting, sorting shapes, laughing at lunch, painting, singing, reading, running, jumping rope, and going on a field trip. While the days are given ordinal numbers, the song skips the cardinal numbers in the verses, and the rhythm is sometimes off: “On the second day of kindergarten / I thought it was so cool / making lots of friends / and riding the bus to my school!” The narrator is a white brunette who wears either a tunic or a dress each day, making her pretty easy to differentiate from her classmates, a nice mix in terms of race; two students even sport glasses. The children in the ink, paint, and collage digital spreads show a variety of emotions, but most are happy to be at school, and the surroundings will be familiar to those who have made an orientation visit to their own schools.

While this is a fairly bland treatment compared to Deborah Lee Rose and Carey Armstrong-Ellis’ The Twelve Days of Kindergarten (2003), it basically gets the job done. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-06-234834-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 4, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2016

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