The Tree in Me by Corinna Luyken

Cover image

The Tree in Me by Corinna Luyken (9780593112595)

There is a tree in all of us, as this picture book so gorgeously demonstrates. It’s a tree that is apple-orange-pear-almond-plum delicious. It’s a tree of shade and sun. All parts and stages of the tree are there, from the sapling through to the trunk and the crown. It’s a tree full of creatures, like bees, squirrels and birds. The tree brings wind and rain and dirt with it. Rivers flow and the sky arches overhead. The tree bends thanks to its deep roots. It reaches to the sun. And thanks to knowing there’s a tree in me, I know there’s a tree in you too.

This picture book is written in simple poetic text that swirls on the page, inviting readers to look deeply at their own tree inside of them. The inward connection with nature itself and with our own nature within is beautifully captured here, showing that we are part of nature at a deep level. Children who are learning meditation will enjoy this new visualization of their connection with others too.

The illustrations are a huge part of this book. Done in what would seem wild colors of neon pinks and oranges, the connection to nature turns these colors into sunbeams, light in the trees, and the glow of merry playful cheeks. Paired with the black ink used in the images for leaves, trunks, weeds and grass, the colors invite us into an interior world of brightness.

A nature connection inward and outward. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy provided by Dial Books.

Have I Ever Told You Black Lives Matter by Shani Mahiri King

Have I Ever Told You Black Lives Matter by Shani Mahiri King, illustrated by Bobby C. Martin, Jr. (9780884488897)

King explains fiercely and openly that Black lives matter, and that they always have mattered. He pulls examples from history, filling the pages with lists of names and accomplishments. There are political figures, artists, musicians, athletes and many more. He reminds readers that Black lives died for our country’s independence. He shares quotes from great Black minds, like Malcolm X, W. E. B. Dubois, and James Baldwin. He uses the refrain of “Have I ever told you…” to open another list of names, share another chapter of history, and demonstrate again and again and again that Black lives are valuable, they matter, and they matter to us all.

The design of this book is almost in two separate pieces. The first part matches the cover art, using gorgeous bold text design to share the words of empowerment that fill the book, that share examples of Black figures, their words and their impact on the world. The book also has silhouettes of some of the people, shadowed in vibrant color. Then the book turns to facts about each of the Black people who are mentioned in the first part of the book. These pages turn a cool blue, sharing details of their lives, quotes from each of them, and offering a glimpse into their greatness.

A dynamic and insistent book that affirms just how much Black lives matter. Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from copy provided by Tilbury House Publishers.