One of the most powerful things I observed during this past summer of demonstrating for racial justice was just how influential young people, sometimes very young people, were to the movements in my community. Whitney Houston sang, “I believe the children are our future.” I say, “thank Heaven.” Hopefully they’ll do a better job than we have. In the meantime, baby activists will want to add this inspiring book to their reference collection.
I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a picture book paint such an honest and straightforward treatment of a mental disorder in a parent, and I can imagine what a relief it would provide for young readers to see that parts of their story are shared with others.
With a charming cast of characters like flamboyant and gorgeous dance phenom Alec, cruel dance teacher Millicent Moore, singer/songwriter Fletch, mean girls Natasha and Jade, and terrifying martinet Cecile Duke, the plot moves along in a way that is comforting if a little predictable. Fans of Singin’ in the Rain will know exactly where the story is going, but they will enjoy getting there tremendously.
The Disney versions of the fairy tales that most Americans grew up with were not the tales I was used to. The version of Cinderella I grew up with for example, was based on the Brothers Grimm story where the step-sisters each cut off parts of their feet to fit into the glass slipper. Cinderella also exacts vengeance on her sisters, summoning doves to peck out their eyes after her wedding to the prince. Bedtime stories for little children, these were not.
Written in a breezy, conversational style, the book is a quick read, for all its depth. Felix is engaging, appealing, and faces the most appalling adult dilemmas with grit and grace. His plight will be great fodder for discussion in the classroom or around the dinner table.
This gorgeous book draws on the latest discoveries of modern astronomy to take children to the farthest reaches of the universe through a mixture of circular maps and flat maps of the Solar System and the galaxies beyond.
This book is a fantastic leap into the mind of a young child burdened with her older sibling’s doom-and-gloom predictions for the future. Upset, they go to grandma who assuages their fears and shows them that beyond all the predictions of bad things lies the possibilities of good things.
I want you to stop for a moment and imagine being a parent telling your eight-year-old that you’re about to send him on a journey that will take him to another country, mostly by foot, across hundreds of miles, across all sorts of terrains, in all sorts of weather, facing untold dangers, in search of a better life. Now imagine that you’re the eight-year-old.
I want more of this kind of book for my kids. Without making it mushy or unbelievable, Fajardo masterfully intertwines the stories of this precocious not-child and his not-adult brother into one of the sweetest narratives I’ve read in a long time. She allows them to be vulnerable and share a very tender bond that flies in the face of the machismo we’ve been told to expect, and to celebrate.