Holes in the Sky

illus. by Patricia Polacco. 48p. Putnam. Sept. 2018. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781524739485.
K-Gr 2—Polacco plumbs the seemingly endless nooks and crannies of her childhood to come up with another picture book to inspire warm feelings of community and caring. This one tells about her family's relocation from Michigan to California after the death of her beloved Babushka. Patty's new neighbor, Stewart, insists on befriending her and introduces her to his grandmother, Miss Eula, a consummate gardener and bulwark of their neighborhood. With Miss Eula, the children embark on a mission of activism to restore a neglected garden and embrace an embittered, grief-stricken resident. Polacco's emotion-laden pencil and watercolor illustrations bleed off the pages, just as her own warmth and affection for humanity overflow in the text. It is, perhaps, a bit hard to credit the many parallels she draws between her own grandmother and Stewart's—as if straining to show that a Russian immigrant and a Black Oakland resident are more alike than not—but many readers will appreciate her motives and welcome the notion that stars are the holes in the sky through which departed love ones keep watch over us.
VERDICT Most libraries will welcome Polacco's message of understanding and mutual affection. The length of the narrative seems to suggest a one-on-one read.

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