Bodies Are Cool by Tyler Federer

Cover image for Bodies Are Cool.

Bodies Are Cool by Tyler Federer (9780593112625)

This picture book celebrates bodies in such a positive and inclusive way. The amount of inclusivity is inspiring, offering various races, skin colors, and sizes. The people depicted are also a variety of ages and abilities. Accessibility tools are depicted just as openly and frankly as freckles, body hair and curves. The book shows an urban community full of different people. They move to different settings like dance class, painting a mural, and spending time outside or at the pool. Through those, we see their bodies in various positions, using different assistive aids, and showing LGBT families and people as well.

The text in the book celebrates so much that people sometimes are ashamed of. That includes “soggy tummies” or “scrawny legs” as well as scars, hair, skin, eyes and faces. Every page ends with the line “Bodies are cool!” to remind us all that we are in bodies that may be unique and different but also share qualities with one another and all are equally cool as the others.

The illustrations are key to the success of the book. With the celebratory tone, the illustrations embrace diversity and community. I particularly love the ice cream parlor where all of the people with freckles, moles and patches eat matching ice cream. The entire book is a sweet joy.

Get this one in every public library to celebrate all the bodies in your community. Appropriate for ages 2-5.

Reviewed from library copy.

When Grandfather Flew by Patricia MacLachlan

Cover image for When Grandfather Flew.

When Grandfather Flew by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Chris Sheban (9780823444892)

Grandfather loved to birdwatch. Milo was a quiet child and he listened to Grandfather’s information on birds and what his Grandfather loved most about them. Grandfather liked many birds like the hawks and kestrels, but his favorite was the soaring bald eagle. Grandfather loved the sharp sight of the birds and all they could see from high above. One day, Milo and Grandfather rescued a chickadee that hit the window, releasing it into the air when it had recovered. As Grandfather lost his eyesight, he could still enjoy the birds at the trees since Milo and his nurse could help him identify them. When Grandfather died, it was Milo who called everyone outside to see the eagle that soared high and then circled down low near them with a flash of his eyes.

Told in the voice of Milo’s older sister, this picture book is a look at an aging grandparent and his eventual death. The book offers connectivity to Grandfather through his love of birds, sharing that love with one child in particular who was willing to listen and to see for him. Newbery-Medalist MacLachlan has crafted this story with kindness and gentleness, offering a sibling view that loves both Milo and Grandfather, a voice that marvels at the chickadee release and at the eagle coming so low.

Sheban’s illustrations are done in watercolor, pastel and graphite. They have such depth and texture, the colors extraordinarily layered and light-filled. They share the wonder of birds in flight, the beauty of the farm landscape and the quiet connections of the family.

A quiet and profound look at life, love, birds and death. Appropriate for ages 4-7.

Reviewed from copy provided by Holiday House.