An affirmative, delightfully diverse overview of disabilities.

JUST ASK!

BE DIFFERENT, BE BRAVE, BE YOU

Drawing on her experiences as a child with juvenile diabetes, the Supreme Court justice addresses kids’ curiosity about disability and illness.

“Each of us grows in our own way,” says Sonia, a Latina child based on the author, as she and her friends plant a garden. Just as each plant has a “different color, different shape, and different purpose,” kids are “all different too.” Encouraging curious readers to “JUST ASK,” Sonia and 11 friends introduce their respective disabilities and chronic illnesses—ranging from blindness to nut allergies—by asking such questions as “How do you use your senses?” and “Are you really good at something?” The kids’ matter-of-fact explanations blend strengths and difficulties. Bianca, who has dyslexia, “love[s] learning by doing things”; Manuel, who has ADHD, “can get frustrated when [they] really feel the need to move around even though [they’re] supposed to sit still.” Though the number of conditions may tax younger readers’ attention spans, kids with those conditions who “don’t feel ready to explain” will appreciate the text’s inclusiveness; as Sonia acknowledges, “Not everyone is comfortable answering questions about themselves.” Enlivening the familiar theme, López’s bold figures, vibrant colors, and close perspective welcome readers into a garden bursting with assorted blossoms, insects, and birds. Refreshingly, most characters present as kids of color of various heritages, ranging from black and Latinx to South and Southeast Asian. One presents white.

An affirmative, delightfully diverse overview of disabilities. (Informational picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 3, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-525-51412-1

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Philomel

Review Posted Online: July 14, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2019

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A humorous tribute to the zany, determined and innovative side of invention.

PAPA'S MECHANICAL FISH

Young Virena, one of four children, provides inspiration for her aspiring inventor papa’s latest ambitious construction: a submarine.

Fleming bases her tale on the true story of Civil War–era inventor Lodner Phillips, who tried his hand at submarine design on the shores of Lake Michigan. In Fleming’s lively, enthusiastic account, Papa builds three increasingly large and more complicated underwater vehicles, each of which sinks, with Papa emerging cheerfully, if damply, ready for the next round. As Virena muses on the nature of marine life, providing Papa with ideas for improvements, the baby interjects disarmingly funny comments: “No pee pee!” chortles the baby when Virena asks how fish stay dry. The Whitefish IV has room for everyone, and Papa puts his entire family into the contraption—somehow the cheerful presentation keeps readers from worrying about the outcome. Kulikov’s expansive, comical illustrations offer exaggerated perspectives from above and below the deep blue-green water, huge and beautiful fish just under the surface and a loving family for the determined inventor. Blueprints for each version of the mechanical fish are included—a neat glimpse into the invention process—while the peculiarly human expressions on the family bulldog remind readers that this is a fantasy. An author’s note and an extensive list of adult resources give background information about the real Lodner Phillips.

A humorous tribute to the zany, determined and innovative side of invention. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-374-39908-5

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Margaret Ferguson/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2013

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2013

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A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared.

IMAGINE

Former Poet Laureate Herrera encourages his young readers to imagine all they might be in his new picture book.

Herrera’s free verse tells his own story, starting as a young boy who loves the plants and animals he finds outdoors in the California fields and is then thrust into the barren, concrete city. In the city he begins to learn to read and write, learning English and discovering a love for words and the way ink flows “like tiny rivers” across the page as he applies pen to paper. Words soon become sentences, poems, lyrics, and a means of escape. This love of the word ultimately leads him to make writing his vocation and to become the first Chicano Poet Laureate of the United States, an honor Herrera received in 2015. Through this story of hardship to success, expressed in a series of conditional statements that all begin “If I,” Herrera implores his readers to “imagine what you could do.” Castillo’s ink and foam monoprint illustrations are a tender accompaniment to Herrera’s verse, the black lines of her illustrations flowing across the page in rhythm with the author’s poetry. Together this makes for a charming read-aloud for groups or a child snuggled in a lap.

A lyrical coming-of-age story in picture-book form that begs to be shared. (Picture book/memoir. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 2, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-7636-9052-6

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Candlewick

Review Posted Online: Aug. 27, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2018

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