Identity. Such a powerful word, and so many books seek to explain it. But what is it? How we look? The groups we’re a part of? Where we come from?
In ISLANDBORN, we meet Lola, a little girl tasked with drawing a picture of the country she is originally from. The problem is, Lola left her Island as a baby and doesn’t remember anything about it.
But everyone around her does, and so she embarks on a journey to understand her homeland. She ultimately discovers that the Island IS her. The music, the fruit, the people, the bravery, the beach: it is all part of her.
This book really resonated with me. My son was born in New York City and we lived there for the first year of his life. Like Lola, he has no memory of his Island, Manhattan. But we tell him stories, we read him books and we tell him how New York will always be part of him; it will always be a part of his identity.
When Little Miss came along after we left New York City, we wondered: how could we give her a piece of this place that means so much to us, to make her feel connected there? Her identity would never include New York City they way the rest of ours does…unless we somehow made it part of her identity. And so we did. Her middle name is our street in New York (thankfully, we didn’t live on a Street or Avenue!). So now, New York City is part of her identity too.
We are shaped by so many things, perhaps none so much as where we come from. ISLANDBORN asks us to confront our origins – the good and the bad – and understand ourselves more.
A big thank you to Penguin Books for Young Readers for including me as part of the blog tour for this book, and sending me this review copy.
Now…were you waiting for the big reveal that I found it by taking 23andme? Well, here it is: Read More…
Publisher: Abrams Kids
I’ve seen a lot of this one on Instagram lately, so I was super surprised to run across it on the library shelf today. Score!
Now, before I read it I really thought it was going to be a meditative book about the color blue (LOL!). How wrong I was! Instead, we follow a young girl as she explores the world – and its many colors- around her.
The text is beautiful. Like poetry, but poetry that kids would actually say. For example, when pretending to stretch like a tree the girl exclaims, “I sprouted!” I love that – it’s so genuinely joyful and so perfectly what a child would say! (Note: this is NOT a rhyming book – just want to make that clear in case there is any confusion with my poetry comment.)
Now, can you get enough of these illustrations?! Not me! They are just beautiful! Look at these pages toward the end:
Stunning. I can’t wait to see what is next for this author/illustrator. I see great things ahead.
Publisher: Balzer & Bray (HarperCollins)
This book is exquisite. It is non-fiction at its absolute best. Relatable to kids, easy to understand language, and illustration perfection. I cannot day enough good things about this one. If you haven’t seen it yet, go check it out. You will love it.
Ok so here’s what I’m talking about. See the boys fooling around while the father reads aloud?! So relatable! It makes this distant world that Jane grew up in seem so much more familiar. And the language isn’t overly verbose or extravagant.
Can you take your eyes off of these illustrations?! They’re beautiful! The delicacy perfectly matches the subject matter. Just gorgeous.
And how about this fun fact: I posted this on Instagram first and the author responded telling us about the hidden image of this very book included in the illustrations. See the girl at the forefront reading? Isn’t that awesome?!
This is the complete package. 😍
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co./Macmillan
Ok, the premise of this book is adorable: everyone wants to take care of and love someone else. So, when a boy gets a dog as a pet, he can easily understand why his dog wants a pet. Around and around it goes, with each subsequent pet wanting a pet, until it comes full circle (with a flea adopting the original dog as it’s pet).
I could NOT get over how cute the endpapers are for this. Take a look:
So cute right?!
And here’s a peek inside at one of the pet’s wanting a pet:
This is cuteness overload. Oh, and take a look at the boy and his mom. Don’t you love the diversity?! I mean it’s not even part of the story, it’s just there – it’s so perfect.
I’ve got a lot of love for this one. Highly recommend. It just came out on March 6th so be on the lookout!
How cute is this cover?! Let me just say, the inside is just as adorable. Boof the bear loves collecting things, and his red leaf is his favorite thing ever.
He never lets it go. Until the wind blows it away. Luckily, Pine the porcupine is ready to step in and help…except his help isn’t quite as helpful as Boof hopes.
All is well in the end though, because instead of a leaf, Boof ends up with a friend.
This is such a cute relationship, it has me wondering if more books are in the works. Thanks to Harper Childrens for sending this one my way!