The Undefeated

November 29, 2020
Subheader: 

I can’t speak for others, but I think it’s a great book.

Clearly, clearly we need books like this. But I feel almost like I don't have the right to talk about this book. And if I were famous, and I had a large platform, this is the sort of thing where I should turn over my platform to people of color to give their own interpretations of this book. But I'm still a relatively unknown reviewer, and I don't have much of a platform to speak of. So my own opinion is that it's very well-written, and the art is top notch. It seems very powerful to me, an outsider, and I hope it comes across that way to most black people as well. It's a wonderful, beautiful book. And the problem with relating to it is all my own.

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Message: 

There are a lot of powerful figures to look up to in black history, and young people in the black community can look back and take inspiration from those figures in their effort towards true equality.

Song of Robin Hood

November 22, 2020
Subheader: 

It’s pretty, but it’s not a kids’ book.

Everybody who made this put so much thought into it, and it's a beautiful book. But the 115 page book is enormous, and it shouldn't be marketed as a children's book. It's really a scholarly work.

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Message: 

It's important to preserve cultural heritage such as Robin Hood.

The Rough Patch

November 15, 2020
Subheader: 

We all go through rough patches.

It's about the death of a beloved pet, and discusses the whole cycle of grief. It's a very poignant book, very powerfully done. And the illustrations are just gorgeous, which is icing on the cake.

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Message: 

Grief takes time to work through, but you will come out the other side.

Paddle-to-the-Sea

November 1, 2020
Subheader: 

Snoozefest with decent art.

It's just really, really long, and nowadays kids don't have the patience for something quite this boring. It just makes me think of how I don't enjoy reading realistic fiction for fun because it doesn't have enough action for me. Maybe it's just me, but it's so very far from modern children's books that it seems like a stodgy distant ancestor.

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Message: 

Water from the snow eventually reaches the sea. Also, people are generally helpful.

Bear Came Along

October 18, 2020
Subheader: 

Bear came along. And then he went.

I know, people tell me in the comments all the time that I read too much into children's books. But I'm not sure where this one is coming from. The author's note afterwards seems to imply that it's about taking a chance and seeing what happens, and being bold, but that that's not really what's happening in the book.

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Message: 

Take a chance and see what happens?

Alma and How She Got Her Name

October 11, 2020
Subheader: 

It must be hard to initial things.

This clearly is not my culture and as a young child growing up in the culture, either she would already know the answer to this (in which case she wouldn't be asking this question) or she merits a more thorough explanation. Maybe she's supposed to be a really young kid and it's supposed to not matter.

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Message: 

Names can be something that ties you to your family history.

I am Jazz

October 4, 2020
Subheader: 

Like “Heather Has Two Mommies” for transgender people.

I know there are going to be people who are going to look at my review and go, "You're such an SJW, yadda yadda", as if accepting that transgender people are actually their mental gender instead of their physical gender is a political position instead of a moral responsibility, but I think this book really works.

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Message: 

Transgender people are different, but that's okay. Being different from others is good.

Journey Cake, Ho!

September 27, 2020
Subheader: 

Journey Cake, Huh?

It seems like fairy tales have a strange fascination with runaway pastries. I understand why Johnny's chasing it: he's poor and hungry, and it's his to begin with. But why are all the animals so fascinated by it? They can barely tell what it is.

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Message: 

Sometimes poor children have to go make their own lives? Or, Everybody loves pastry.

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