Review: This Is My Home, This Is My School by Jonathan Bean

This Is My Home This Is My School by Jonathan Bean

This Is My Home, This Is My School by Jonathan Bean (InfoSoup)

Based on his own experience being home-schooled as a child, Jonathan Bean shows the creative and structured chaos of a home schooling family. There are his siblings who are his classmates, his mother who is his teacher, and his father who comes in as a substitute teacher too. They have the playground of their yard and go on field trips to places like the library. Their art classes are outside and there are lots of other kids who join in those and phy ed too. Dinner is the place for show-and-tell and bedtime is an English class. It’s a busy day for everyone because home is school too.

I love the wild energy of this book, showing that homeschooling can be just as engaging and social as any other type of schooling, probably more so! The book is filled with a warmth built from the family itself and their cozy home. Home-schooled children will see themselves on the pages here, something that is very important. The book ends with family snapshots and an Author’s Note that also speak to the joy of being home-schooled.

Bean’s artwork adds to the zingy energy of the book. His loose lines don’t contain the watercolors, letting them wash freely and blend dynamically on the page. The pages are filled with loving detail from the crowded home filled with projects going on to the huge backyard.

A critical item for public libraries, this book will help support home-schooled children in communities and will show others what they are missing. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from copy received from Farrar, Straus & Giroux.


Mixed Me! by Taye Diggs

Mixed Me by Taye Diggs

Mixed Me! by Taye Diggs, illustrated by Shane W. Evans (InfoSoup)

The author of Chocolate Me! returns with his second picture book. Mike is a boy with wild curls whose skin doesn’t match that either his mother or his father. His father has dark skin and his mother light, and Mike is somewhere in between. Mike loves to run and dash with a cape on his back. He knows exactly who he is and is proud to be a mix of both of his parents. He’s not mixed up at all, he just wants to do his own thing, wear his hair the way he likes it, choose his own clothes, and be exactly who he is.

Taye Diggs, the well-known actor, keeps his book fast moving and filled with rhythm. The character of Mike is a joy to find on the page, a creative boy who has a look and personality all his own. The frank look at skin color is also very welcome as is the exuberant acceptance of being mixed race and the beauty that brings.

Evans’ illustrations are a dynamic collage of fabrics, printed paper and skilled drawing. The way that Mike’s hair is shown gives it its own personality, often moving ahead of Mike himself as he zips through life. The art celebrates different races and colors and the way that Mike stands out for all sorts of reasons from the crowd.

A celebration of self-acceptance, children of all backgrounds will enjoy this book. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Feiwel and Friends.