What Is Hope?

Nancy Paulsen. Sept. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593326558.
K-Gr 2–An array of simple pleasures awaits readers in this charming picture book. Rhyming text presents examples of uplifting experiences to which nearly everyone can relate. Digital and mixed media illustrations bring to life scenes of learning to ride a bike, a hillside covered with flowers, and running for the ice cream truck. Three siblings appear throughout the book, along with their family, friends, and neighbors. A range of skin tones and hair colors and textures are used for the various characters. Along with grandmother helping to bake an apple pie or big brother giving a boost for a basketball shot, pets also offer hope as a “promise of love in a fur-covered coat.” Scenes support the wonders of childhood and the possibilities for making a new friend, mastering a new skill, or spending time with loved ones. Teachers may especially enjoy the spread showing children waiting at the library checkout counter and the sentiment, “Hope is a book on a shelf just for you.”
VERDICT The perfect book to read with someone who is feeling discouraged, or to use with older students as a mentor text on metaphors.

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