A heartfelt exercise in morality with occasional stumbles along the way. (Picture book. 4-8)

SHOEBOX SAM

All those who labor and are footsore, find relief with Shoebox Sam.

Young Jesse and Delia follow their Saturday routine assisting Shoebox Sam, a generous shoe repairman who provides footwear for those less fortunate. The children tidy his shop while seeking information from the elusive shopkeeper. Just what is the history surrounding the beautiful dance slippers he lovingly displays? The business-turned–charitable establishment, located “on the corner of Magnolia and Vine,” has an old-timey feel, but Morrison keeps specific indicators of place and time out of his illustrations. Shoebox Sam models the golden rule to all who enter his doors. His young assistants occasionally falter, rudely pointing out the doughnuts consumed or the extra clothes carried by the disadvantaged. He gently rebukes them with gentle directness. “When you’re hungry, you eat.… When you’re cold, you cover up.” Light in characterization, the message-driven tale builds to its inspirational though rather inscrutable climax. Jesse’s narration reveals his respect for his beloved mentor. “He shines old shoes and builds new soles. He shines them up fine.” Creamy tones spread nostalgic warmth within soft-edged designs, though sometimes this softness results in a lack of clarity in characters’ expressions. Elongated African-American figures move against the backdrop of shoes and mahogany shelving in a pleasing visual dance.

A heartfelt exercise in morality with occasional stumbles along the way. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-310-71549-8

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Review Posted Online: June 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 2011

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An uplifting, rhyming picture book offering food for the soul.

A SPOONFUL OF FAITH

A mother teaches her daughter a special recipe to help feed her faith.

Layla, a young, brown-skinned girl, is ready yet nervous for her first day of school. Seeking a confidence boost, she goes in search of her mom—“’Cause mamas can help / when you need love and calm”—and finds her in the kitchen. “Hey, sweetie, sit here / Let’s make a quick meal / that’s full of good things / to help how you feel,” her mother suggests and fishes out a recipe book. The recipe for the meal includes many ingredients, but none of them are tangible. Instead, courage, “a spoonful of faith,” “dashes of kindness,” “handfuls of hope,” “pinches of prayers,” and warm hugs go into the mixing bowl. To concretize these virtues, the artwork uses a visual motif of hearts and flowers. Once the meal is ready, Layla hesitantly looks into the bowl, unsure what to make of the imaginary repast, but a word of wisdom from Mama helps her realize the true source of her emotional sustenance and strength. The illustrations, created using digital watercolor, pencil, and gouache brushes in Procreate, are soothing, with soft pastel colors. While God is mentioned, there are no references to any specific religion.

An uplifting, rhyming picture book offering food for the soul. (author's note) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Feb. 15, 2022

ISBN: 978-0-06-301781-8

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Dec. 3, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2021

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With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked...

MOMMY'S KHIMAR

From a debut author-and-illustrator team comes a glimpse into a young American Muslim girl’s family and community as she walks around in “Mommy’s khimar,” or headscarf.

The star of this sunny picture book is a young girl who finds joy in wearing her mother’s khimar, imagining it transforms her into a queen, a star, a mama bird, a superhero. At the core of the story is the love between the girl and her mother. The family appears to be African-American, with brown skin and textured hair. The girl’s braids and twists “form a bumpy crown” under the khimar, which smells of coconut oil and cocoa butter. Adults in her life delight in her appearance in the bright yellow khimar, including her Arabic teacher at the mosque, who calls it a “hijab,” and her grandmother, who visits after Sunday service and calls out “Sweet Jesus!” as she scoops her granddaughter into her arms. Her grandmother is, apparently, a Christian, but “We are a family and we love each other just the same.” The illustrations feature soft pastel colors with dynamic lines and gently patterned backgrounds that complement the story’s joyful tone. The words are often lyrical, and the story artfully includes many cultural details that will delight readers who share the cheerful protagonist’s culture and enlighten readers who don’t.

With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked cultural group . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0059-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 3, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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