I Am One: A Book of Action

Abrams. (I Am). Sept. 2020. 32p. Tr $14.99. ISBN 9781419742385.
K-Gr 3–Verde and Reynolds have found a timely niche for a collaboration that focuses on mindfulness. Dedicated to Greta Thunberg, this title features an adorable Black child with short dreadlocks and a rainbow-colored bird wondering how to make a difference. The answer is clear: One thing at a time. One seed planted, one stroke, one note, one step are all the beginning of something much larger. Verde’s single lines of directive prose and Reynolds’s charming watercolors with plenty of white space give readers opportunity to linger and ponder what will come after those “firsts.” When the child breaks down a wall into its individual bricks, and another child is on the other side along with a friendly dog, the conceit is complete—the bricks become a pathway, relationships are built. The ripple metaphor that is introduced next will be new to young readers, and offers the discussion point that consequences to our actions can be positive. The lesson resonates in a classroom and library environment because there is no real story, just text that guides parents or educators and children through the steps. That this title is part of a series creates an opportunity for a thematic continuum in a social-emotional curriculum.
VERDICT Best for shared reading, this attractive title makes complex ideas simple and opens doors for optimistic discussion. Recommended for general purchase.

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