The World Is Waiting for You by Barbara Kerley
Another visually gorgeous book from National Geographic, this book ties together what kids do at a young age with what they can become as an adult. The book invites children to get out into the world and explore. After all, if you love getting wet, you could become a diver. Love digging in the mud? You could be an archeologist. Love looking at the stars? Climbing trees? Digging into deep holes in the ground? All of these and more are skillfully tied to careers in a book that is less about getting children to buckle down and more about getting them to open up and fly.
Kerley’s prose reads like a poem, each line designed as an invitation to be themselves and get into things that they love. Even better, those same thrilling things are tied to life as an adult, offering options for turning their passions into careers. Yet this book does not dwell there, instead it is a cornucopia of ideas, one after another meant to inspire thought and dreaming than to instruct on specific jobs.
As always in National Geographic books, the illustrations are crisp and colorful photographs. Here readers will see children out in nature, interacting and loving it. The images are from around the world and are filled with joy and motion. At the end of the book, details on each image are given.
Bright, colorful and filled with inspiration, this is a career book that children will find thrilling. Appropriate for ages 4-8.
Reviewed from library copy.
The Herd Boy by Niki Daly
Malusi looks after his grandfather’s sheep during the day, taking them grazing and also protecting them from predators. Malusi has to be able to work in the heat of the sun, keep the sheep away from the ravine, and keep close watch for snakes and baboons. His friend Lungisa is also a shepherd but he has his own dog, something Malusi wishes for. He also dreams of becoming something more than a herd boy, maybe even president!
Daly weaves in African details to create a setting and society in this picture book. The details are small but vibrant such as the food, the animals out in the wild, the landscape, and language. She uses a few words and phrases of throughout the book, just enough to add some African spices to the tale. Using poetic language, she draws the strong character and large dreams of Malusi clearly. He is a young hero with large responsibilities and a willingness to lead.
Daly’s art embraces the landscape of Africa with ravines and hills framing the page, eagles soaring in the sky, and distinctive plants in the foreground. There are full color images but also sepia toned ones that show small touches of the story as well. The large format of the full-color images make this book good for sharing with a group.
Thanks to the beauty and depth of Daly’s writing, this picture book trends a little older than many. It will also lead to interesting discussions with slightly older children. Appropriate for ages 6-8.
Reviewed from copy received from Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.