An excellent primer on what feminism and allyship entail.

FRANNY'S FATHER IS A FEMINIST

Little readers learn what it means to be a feminist.

As the title says, Franny’s father is a feminist. Feminists, small print explains, believe “that girls can do everything boys can do, and…[that girls deserve] all the same rights, freedoms, and opportunities that” boys have. The story goes on to explore what it means to raise a child with an equal-opportunity philosophy, highlighting Franny’s father’s childhood as a budding feminist and showing several real-world examples of how feminism influences Franny’s development. Franny and her father are white, but Franny’s friend Sasha is black, as is her father (who also happens to be a feminist). The illustrations boast cartoon characters with pop eyes. The color palette mixes pinks, baby blues, and greens to excellent effect, mirroring the muddying of traditional gender roles—Franny’s father is the primary caregiver, while Franny’s mom “has an important job” outside the home. The book’s tone is informative rather than preachy, presenting feminism not as the only way to be but rather a sensible caregiving choice. Some caregivers may be able to use this title to sort out their own feelings on the subject.

An excellent primer on what feminism and allyship entail. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-57687-873-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: POW!

Review Posted Online: March 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught...

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A PROBLEM?

A child struggles with the worry and anxiety that come with an unexpected problem.

In a wonderful balance of text and pictures, the team responsible for What Do You Do With an Idea (2014) returns with another book inspiring children to feel good about themselves. A child frets about a problem that won’t go away: “I wished it would just disappear. I tried everything I could to hide from it. I even found ways to disguise myself. But it still found me.” The spare, direct narrative is accompanied by soft gray illustrations in pencil and watercolor. The sepia-toned figure of the child is set apart from the background and surrounded by lots of white space, visually isolating the problem, which is depicted as a purple storm cloud looming overhead. Color is added bit by bit as the storm cloud grows and its color becomes more saturated. With a backpack and umbrella, the child tries to escape the problem while the storm swirls, awash with compass points scattered across the pages. The pages brighten into splashes of yellow as the child decides to tackle the problem head-on and finds that it holds promise for unlooked-for opportunity.

A straightforward, effective approach to helping children cope with one of life’s commonplace yet emotionally fraught situations, this belongs on the shelf alongside Molly Bang’s Sophie books. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: June 1, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-943-20000-9

Page Count: 44

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: March 30, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2016

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

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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

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