For Our Daughters

Random House Studio. Apr. 2024. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593428085.
PreS-Gr 3–Poet Nyoko’s debut picture book is a lyrical celebration of individuality penned in a rhythm that begs to be read aloud. The premise, that every person’s unique qualities may not always be understood and honored, is met with an uplifting series of responses. Hair too coily? No, it’s a magnificent crown. Voice too loud? No, it “will tell the world your unique story.” Nyoko deftly balances empowering language with more specific imagery: darker skin mirrors that of ancient queens whose statues can be found in museums, and a wider nose is a connection to the ancestors. Avelino elegantly interprets Nyoko’s words, imbuing them with warmth and an approachable beauty, and bringing her own impeccable sense of balance. Some pages boast broad, colorful depictions of flowers and butterflies, while others are minimalistic and quiet. The layout always leaves room for the words to breathe. The loveliness of the illustrations is a kid-friendly one, and many readers will see themselves here—some for the first time. There are mosques and headwraps, a bald ballerina and an Ashanti queen. Short enough to be read aloud, but important enough to be put in the hands of older readers, this book should be in every library.
VERDICT A flat-out stunner, this book is a loving ode to strength and potential, enthusiastically recommended for all libraries.

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