As the next four years go by, we will all need to be brave. Brave enough to stand up when others are in trouble, brave enough to speak up even when our voices shake, brave enough to love those who don’t agree with us. Here are some picture books to inspire:
Hands around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books by Susan L. Roth and Karen Leggett Abouraya
The Knowing Book by Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Miss Hazeltine’s Home for Shy and Fearful Cats by Alicia Potter, illustrated by Birgitta Sif
Nightsong by Ari Berk, illustrated by Loren Long
One Day in the Eucalyptus Eucalyptus Tree by Daniel Bernstrom
The Promise by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Laura Carlin
The Ride: The Legend of Betsy Dowdy by Kitty Griffin, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
Running with the Horses by Alison Lester
The Wren and the Sparrow by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Yevgenia Nayberg
You Can Do It, Bert! by Ole Konnecke
The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (InfoSoup)
A finalist for the National Book Award, this book for teens is exceptional. It is the story of two teens, Daniel and Natasha who meet one another through a series of events. Daniel, a poet, firmly believes in love at first sight and destiny bringing them together. Natasha though does not, believing in science and what is provable. The day is a big day for both of them. Natasha’s family is being deported back to Jamaica that night unless she can figure out a way to stop it. Daniel is being interviewed for Yale, a school and a career path that his Korean parents have chosen for him. When the two meet, the chemistry is palpable, but the timing is horrible. Daniel decides that he can prove to Natasha that love is real and measurable, but can he do it in time with their deadlines working against them both?
I can see why this book is getting all of the attention and praise that it is. It’s an amazing read, filled with possibility and the sense that the universe may just be on our side sometimes. It’s filled with romance and chemistry. The prose has a lightness that is exceptional, creating space for these two amazing characters to meet, breathe, and tumble head over heels in love with one another.
Meanwhile, it is also a story of New York City. It’s a story of immigration and illegal immigrants, of losing a culture and then losing the dream of America as well. It’s a story of overt racism and the new generation of teens who see beyond that and into hearts. It’s a story of profound loss, of parental betrayal, of hope that manages to rise again and again.
A book perfect for today, this teen novel is a voice of hope despite our challenges and loving through it all. Appropriate for ages 14-17.
Reviewed from library copy.