Place Hand Here

Norton. Oct. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781324017035.
K-Gr 2–A yellow hand painted within a green heart on a building wall becomes a touchstone to its diverse community, a spot where you place your hand to feel close to those you miss. It takes Ms. Iris back to her sister’s kitchen in her old country. It reminds Devin of his sister who left for college. It makes Amit feel closer to his family who lives on the other side of the sea. Savannah puts her hand on the wall and thinks about her abuela and the jigsaw puzzle they never got to finish. Everyone has someone that they miss, including the unnamed protagonist. In a gentle twist at the end, readers learn why. “A long time ago, I opened the mailbox and found a letter from my mom. When you feel lonely, place your hand here, the letter said. And I did.” The text is clear, matter of fact, and reads well aloud. Yamasaki’s signature style shines in these illustrations. Using bold colors, a rainbow motif, and a variety of techniques, she clearly depicts reality, plus the longing and love of her characters, with a variety of skin tones and ethnicities, for what or who is missing. Their emotions are deftly shown but aren’t overwhelming. The end contains an author’s note for adults on incarcerated mothers, the book’s inspiration, which expands the reach and meaning of the text. Includes related websites.
VERDICT A sweet and relatable story of feeling lonely, missing loved ones, and community; an excellent purchase for libraries.

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