This sweet book offers a comforting and reassuring idea to help children through a tough time—or any time.

WHEN YOU NEED WINGS

An invitation to wary children to find strength within.

The author/illustrator advises kids facing a loud, frightening, unfamiliar situation, when “no one is listening” and when disappearing seems like a good idea, to concentrate on “the sound of [their] very own wings, beating within.” As depicted in the delightful, energetic pencil-and-watercolor illustrations, these invisible, though audible and palpable, wings help one fly away from fearsome experiences and enter a blissful, imaginary realm of “treasures” where anything’s possible. There, one might laugh, dance, gambol, and even shout among assorted nonthreatening companions. Indulging in flights of fancy, the story assures readers, can give one the strength and self-confidence to meet erstwhile scary problems with aplomb. This simple, charming story presents a young white child who finds the first day of preschool intimidating. Eyes closed and concentrating on the beating wings within, the child enters an enchanting forest of the mind filled with friendly, revelry-making wildlife. Once the adventure’s over, the child, now confident enough to “fly” in the real world, is shown having a genuinely joyful time with welcoming, diverse classmates. An especially captivating double-page spread shows the child’s wide-eyed face smiling out at readers, surrounded by the symbolic white doves that support her.

This sweet book offers a comforting and reassuring idea to help children through a tough time—or any time. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 3, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5344-3755-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Atheneum

Review Posted Online: Oct. 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

An expertly crafted, soulful, and humorous work that tenderly explores identity, culture, and the bond between father and...

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

  • Kirkus Reviews'
    Best Books Of 2016

  • Kirkus Prize
  • Kirkus Prize
    finalist

  • New York Times Bestseller

THUNDER BOY JR.

Thunder Boy Smith Jr. hates his name.

The Native American boy is named after his father, whose nickname is Big Thunder. Thunder Boy Jr. says his nickname, Little Thunder, makes him "sound like a burp or a fart." Little Thunder loves his dad, but he longs for a name that celebrates something special about him alone. He muses, “I love playing in the dirt, so maybe my name should be Mud in His Ears.…I love powwow dancing. I’m a grass dancer. So maybe my name should be Drums, Drums, and More Drums!” Little Thunder wonders how he can express these feelings to his towering father. However, he need not worry. Big Thunder knows that the time has come for his son to receive a new name, one as vibrant as his blossoming personality. Morales’ animated mixed-media illustrations, reminiscent of her Pura Belpré Award–winning work in Niño Wrestles the World (2013), masterfully use color and perspective to help readers see the world from Little Thunder’s point of view. His admiration of his dad is manifest in depictions of Big Thunder as a gentle giant of a man. The otherwise-muted palette bursts with color as Thunder Boy Jr. proudly enumerates the unique qualities and experiences that could inspire his new name.

An expertly crafted, soulful, and humorous work that tenderly explores identity, culture, and the bond between father and son. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: May 10, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-316-01372-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: March 16, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A sweet story highlighting nonromantic love during the Valentine season.

THE HOUSE OF LOVE

In a big, old house on a snowy hill, the Amore family of nine celebrates Valentine's Day.

Mia Valentina, the youngest family member, and Mama clean the house and decorate for the Amores’ favorite holiday. Then Mia’s mother helps her make thoughtful but funny valentines for her 6 siblings. When Papa and the rest of the clan return home from a basketball game, Mia’s siblings get a kick out of their valentines, and Papa presents Mama with chocolate cherry cordials, but no one gives Mia a gift. While the family has dinner and plays games, Mia’s sadness seemingly goes unnoticed. It’s not until bedtime that she makes a discovery that chases away her gloom. The pages of this book are text-heavy, making it a good springboard for young readers making the transition to chapter books. The light pink pages, cheerful illustrations, and homespun authenticity of the text will appeal to children. The cozy Appalachian mountain setting shines through. Crafty types will glean inspiration to create a gumdrop tree, custom valentines, or themed cupcakes. Mentions of an antique washing machine and patched-up windows establish the Amores as a working-class family. The old house and large family could be read as standard storybook fare or, by more critical readers, as a romanticized image of rural life, and the didactic ending feels old-fashioned. The Amores are White. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A sweet story highlighting nonromantic love during the Valentine season. (Illustrated text. 4-7)

Pub Date: Dec. 28, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-20331-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet
more