Kiyoshi’s Walk by Mark Karlins

Cover image.

Kiyoshi’s Walk by Mark Karlins, illustrated by Nicole Wong (9781620149584)

Kiyoshi’s grandfather Eto is a poet who writes poetry with brush and ink. Kiyoshi wishes that he could write poems too. When he asks his grandfather where poems come from, the two set off on a walk in their neighborhood. At the corner store, they see a cat on a pile of oranges. Eto stopped and wrote a poem about what happened when the oranges toppled, inspired by what they saw. The two hear pigeons flying above them, inspiring the next poem from what they heard. After seeing an abandoned teddy bear, Eto writes a poem about how it got there and how it feels, all from his imagination. The two reach the river together where Eto writes one last poem of the day, capturing his feelings. Now it is Kiyoshi’s turn to figure out that poems come from our surroundings and how that touches what is in our hearts. He’s ready to write his first poem.

Karlins has created a touching story of the connection between grandson and grandfather. The story is gentle and focused on finding poems throughout their day together. The book clearly shows how heart and imagination meet inspiring moments in life to create art, whether it is poetry, prose, music or art. Throughout the book, Eto treats Kiyoshi as an equal, gently showing him how he works and allowing Kiyoshi to also discover on his own.

The luminous art was done digitally. It evokes the warmth of colored pencil on the page. The fine details work well in showing the vibrant and changing urban setting they live in. The color palette changes as they walk, ending with the setting sun reflected in deep colors in the river.

Full of inspiration, poetry and connection. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Lee & Low Books.

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly

Cover image for Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey.

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly (9780062970428)

Marisol is the only one in her family who hates the big magnolia tree in their back yard. She has named the tree Peppina, and doesn’t like it because Marisol is scared of climbing trees. Her best friend Jada isn’t scared of anything. She can climb the tree like a flash and so can Marisol’s older brother. Marisol though worries a lot. She even worries about worrying too much. She is scared of learning to swim and almost didn’t learn to ride a bike either. Marisol is the only person in her class whose mother was born somewhere else. Her mother was born in the Philippines. She’s also the only person whose father works on an oil rig during the week. That’s why she also worries about Evie Smythe, a mean girl in her class who seems nice but makes fun of Marisol and her family. So what will happen when Marisol decides she has to climb Peppina after all? Maybe something amazing!

Award-winning author Kelly based Marisol upon herself as a child. Marisol’s worries and internal voice ring so true because of that connection to the author. As Marisol frets, she finds herself up in the middle of the night often and spends the time watching silent movies so no one else wakes up. She loves Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, naming some of the objects around her home after the actors she sees on screen. These are the clever moments in the book that fully bring it to life.

Readers will enjoy Marisol who may be worried, but also is entirely her own person. While she keeps some of her quirks between herself and Jada, others are more obvious in her life. Marisol is funny and filled with imagination, allowing her to become a bird even if she doesn’t like heights.

A charmer of a chapter book that “may be” just the one you are looking for. Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Greenwillow Books.