3 Books about the World: Home is Bigger than We Think | Picture Book Spotlight

Whether it's spring, when we first noticed these books, or summer, winter, or fall, offering children a way to look at the world that makes them appreciate and want to protect it may help guarantee its future, and theirs. 

Three books take the idea of home and ­enlarge it, but also whisper it. Whether it's spring, when we first noticed these books, or summer, winter, or fall, offering children a way to look at the world that makes them appreciate and want to protect it may help guarantee its future, and theirs. 

Lombardi, Kristine A. My Wish for the World. illus. by author. 32p. Little, Brown/Christy Ottaviano. Mar. 2023. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780316433150.
PreS-Gr 1–Offering easily accomplished solutions for the many problems in the world, this work suggests that kindness, inclusivity, and gentle caring can begin to make life a little better. A loving mother tucks her child into bed and offers uncomplicated ideas in rhyming phrases. Practice kindness, respect nature, don’t use more than necessary of Earth’s bounty, be clean, and give ­shelter and comfort to those in need. Colorful ­illustrations show a diverse group of children working together to meet those goals. A final list of tips to make a better world includes giving hugs, turning off the faucet when brushing teeth, and helping the elderly. Feeding birds and adopting a shelter pet may not be as doable for some children, but this is useful for class discussions on cooperation and kindness to others. VERDICT A lovely book; these messages will make children aware that simple acts can make a big difference for everyone.–Eva Elisabeth VonAncken

Reidy, Jean. A Book About You and All the World Too. illus. by Joey Chou. 40p. HarperCollins. Jun. 2023. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780063041523.
PreS-K–Imagine the beauty and wonder that could be found in a book written by the world’s children. In this story, readers are introduced to a wide range of young people, all coming together with the collective intent of creating a shared narrative. Readers are presented with myriad possibilities for action in the hypothetical story described within the pages of this book, including swimming with salmon and spelunking in an unexplored cave. But no matter what the children decide to experience, their shared love crosses any barriers that might exist. This enables the children to create not only a beautiful story for themselves, but one for the world, as well. This heartwarming and whimsical picture book celebrates the potential found in every child to step into their lives with joy, curiosity, and the untethered ability to make the world a better place. Told in short, rhyming couplets, the narrative is easily accessible to very young readers, and it is designed to be voiced aloud thanks to its singsong rhythm and balanced meter. Digitally rendered illustrations depict a variety of children in enchanting scenes, using bright, vibrant colors to attract the attention of young children in particular. ­Together, the narrative and ­images ­complement one ­another, and they succeed in inspiring ­readers of all ages to bravely venture into the world they imagine. VERDICT This expertly designed picture book is a love letter to the Earth’s future, and it is a joy to read aloud to young children.–Mary R. Lanni

Simpson, Tonya. Forever Our Home/kâkikê kîkinaw (Bilingual edition). tr. into Plains Cree by Jean Okimâsis. illus. by Carla Joseph. 32p. Orca. May 2023. Tr $21.95. ISBN 9781459837584. BL
–Simpson’s debut picture book, written in both English and Plains Cree, is a tribute to her homeland in the prairies and plains. Adapted from a lullaby she wrote for her newborn son, the lyrical text highlights the wildlife of the area while affirming her family’s ancestral place in the land. “My sweet, beautiful child,” she writes, “home is where the hawks hunt and the foxes run wild. This, my love, is where you are from.” Simultaneously, Joseph’s vivid spreads center the plants and animals of the area as the most visually important elements on the page, with the family frequently pictured as passing through in the distance, or on some pages absent entirely. It’s a lovely ­reminder that our homelands belonged to so many more before us. With a continuing dearth of Indigenous voices, this solemn and serene volume should be considered a first purchase. VERDICT Essential for most collections, and with its wildlife-centric art, it’s also a perfect read-aloud for Earth Day.–Lindsay Loup

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