An accessible, important addition to any anti-racist bookshelf.

OUR SKIN

A FIRST CONVERSATION ABOUT RACE

From the First Conversations series

A conversation starter for adults and children on race, racism, and what to do about it.

Subtitled “A First Conversation About Race,” this book breaks race and racism down into simple terms and builds from there. It begins by asking readers to think about their skin and the skin of the people in their families. Through the context of differences in skin color, readers explore both the science of skin color with an explanation of melanin levels and questions like “What do you love about your skin?” and the social aspects of skin color and the ways that “people of color” are treated differently—both intentionally and not. The book skillfully tackles a broad range of topics, from identity terms to White supremacy, in direct and kid-friendly language. The nuanced summary of the different ways racism manifests is concrete and sure to spark important dialogue between children and the adults they read with. The message “Racism hurts and is always unfair!” is followed by suggestions for how readers can work to make change. People of many different racial presentations and ages, along with people with visible disabilities, are depicted in the bright watercolor illustrations. A “Continue the Conversation” section geared toward adults discusses helpful strategies for cultivating understanding of racism in even the youngest children.

An accessible, important addition to any anti-racist bookshelf. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: March 16, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-593-38263-9

Page Count: 36

Publisher: Rise x Penguin Workshop

Review Posted Online: May 5, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2021

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Although listeners will relate to the difficulty of waiting as presented in Schwartz’s straightforward plot, there is not...

I CAN'T WAIT!

Periodically, a publishing season yields titles on a common theme. This year, coincidentally, three artists explore dimensions of waiting.

Schwartz depicts three impatient preschoolers who are helpfully distracted by other characters. Headings create five segments within the longish text. William enjoys riddles; he drops clues to neighbors, whose silly guesses pass the time until Papa arrives. Anxious Annie rattles off reasons (to Puppy) why Eddie probably doesn’t like her anymore. Then he appears, wondering where she’d been. Thomas helps Grandma choose names for a new sister—until a brother is presented. Cheerful gouache and ink vignettes in a plethora of colorful patterns against a white background carry the flavor of a bygone era: wash hangs outside, batter is licked while baking, a child waits on a porch stoop. After group play, William “can’t wait” until tomorrow. By contrast, Kevin Henkes’ Waiting (2015) celebrates the joy in the moments themselves—the serendipity and sense of community with others who are present. In Antoinette Portis’ Wait (2015), a child repeatedly urges his mother to stop (and look)—with manifold rewards. Both titles feature spare text and rich visual narratives motivating readers to draw their own conclusions—and return.

Although listeners will relate to the difficulty of waiting as presented in Schwartz’s straightforward plot, there is not more to glean. Henkes and Portis offer deeper pleasures in more succinct packages. (Picture book. 4-5)

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4424-8231-9

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 27, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2015

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Conceptually elegant, visually clean, uncluttered—and sure to inspire young artists everywhere.

SHAPES

From the Zoe and Zack series

A charming lesson for young Michaelangelos and O’Keeffes on drawing geometric shapes—and from them, simple representational images.

Artist-turned-educator-turned–children’s book creator Duquennoy has created an entertaining and inventive vehicle to teach youngsters both basic shapes and some simple drawings that can be made with them. As with the simultaneously published companion volume, Opposites, this book makes clever use of die-cut pages, here combined with clear acetate windows to show children how simple lines become familiar shapes, then toys and animals. Zack the chameleon draws a curved semicircle on one page; on the facing page, Zoe the zebra can be seen drawing a complementary semicircle on the clear window between them. When the page is turned, the two curved lines combine to form a circle. Zack draws more circles, and Zoe does the same, in seemingly random patterns, until a turn of the page creates a composite image of a teddy bear. Squares can be used, the two friends suggest, to draw a robot. Triangles are used to draw fish. All three shapes can be combined to construct a rudimentary but clearly recognizable “beautiful bird…ready to fly high in the sky.” It’s an admirably simple device to encourage crayon aficionados with still-developing motor skills to make the jump from scribbles to basic representational drawing.

Conceptually elegant, visually clean, uncluttered—and sure to inspire young artists everywhere. (Board book. 2-5)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-2-74708-699-8

Page Count: 22

Publisher: Twirl/Chronicle

Review Posted Online: March 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2018

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