Joyous multigenerational fun.

BISA'S CARNAVAL

A young girl and her great-grandmother share their love for a special annual holiday.

It’s Carnaval time in Brazil, and Clara can’t wait to celebrate it with her family and especially with her bisa (great-grandmother). In the lead-up to the festivities Clara and Bisa spend time together going through Bisa’s memories of previous years and lovingly choosing the colorful fabrics Bisa will use to create beautiful fantasias—costumes—for Clara, her cousins, and her sisters. Bisa herself doesn’t attend Carnaval this year due to her age, and as Clara loses herself to the sounds and scents around her, she realizes there is something she can do to make it all even better. The Brazilian duo of author Pastro and illustrator Coroa bring to life the street Carnaval of Olinda, a city in the northeast of Brazil, with a story that celebrates one of the country’s most important and beloved holidays with humor, truth, and heart. The picture book showcases Carnaval as a heartwarming multigenerational celebration and is peppered with easy-to-contextualize Portuguese words (a glossary is provided at the end). The illustrations are suitably celebratory, with bright colors and detailed and festive backgrounds as well as a plethora of characters who represent the diversity of the Brazilian people. Clara and her family have light-brown skin.

Joyous multigenerational fun. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-338-61762-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Orchard/Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 24, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15, 2021

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Heartfelt content for children who need to feel seen.

BEING YOU

Words addressed to children aimed at truth-telling, encouraging, and inspiring are accompanied by pictures of children of color going about their days.

“This story is about you,” the narrator opens, as a black boy looks up toward readers, a listening expression on his face. A multiracial group of children romp in a playground to encouraging words: “you are… / a dancer / a singer / in charge of the game.” Then comes a warning about the “whispers” out in the world that “tell you who you are / But only you and love decide.” There is advice about what to do when you “think there is nowhere safe”: “Watch a bird soar / and think, / Me too.” It asks readers to wonder: “If there was a sign on your chest / what would it say?” Children argue and show frustration and anger for reasons unclear to readers, then they hold up signs about themselves, such as “I am powerful” and “I am talented.” A girl looks hurt, and a boy looks “tough” until someone finds them “sitting there wondering / when the sky will blue.” While the words are general, the pictures specify a teacher, who is brown-skinned with straight black hair, as one who “can see you.” While young readers may find the wording unusual, even obscure in places, the nurturing message will not be lost.

Heartfelt content for children who need to feel seen. (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68446-021-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Capstone Young Readers

Review Posted Online: Aug. 14, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2018

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A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area.

RED AND LULU

A pair of cardinals is separated and then reunited when their tree home is moved to New York City to serve as the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

The male cardinal, Red, and his female partner, Lulu, enjoy their home in a huge evergreen tree located in the front yard of a small house in a pleasant neighborhood. When the tree is cut down and hauled away on a truck, Lulu is still inside the tree. Red follows the truck into the city but loses sight of it and gets lost. The birds are reunited when Red finds the tree transformed with colored lights and serving as the Christmas tree in a complex of city buildings. When the tree is removed after Christmas, the birds find a new home in a nearby park. Each following Christmas, the pair visit the new tree erected in the same location. Attractive illustrations effectively handle some difficult challenges of dimension and perspective and create a glowing, magical atmosphere for the snowy Christmas trees. The original owners of the tree are a multiracial family with two children; the father is African-American and the mother is white. The family is in the background in the early pages, reappearing again skating on the rink at Rockefeller Center with their tree in the background.

A touching, beautifully illustrated story of greatest interest to those in the New York City area. (author’s note) (Picture book. 5-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 19, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-7636-7733-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2017

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