It Takes a Village

It has been more than 20 years since the publication of then-First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's bestseller It Takes a Village. This picture book with the same title takes the focus of Clinton's original work--children--and, instead of highlighting how adults can make a world for children, depicts instead the individual agency of children and how "sometimes it takes a child to make a village."

Marla Frazee's (The Farmer and the Clown) illustrations tell the story behind the text. The double-page spread with the words "We all have a place in the village, a job to do, and a lot to learn" depicts a large, diverse group of children and adults coming together under a leafless winter tree to sort through building materials. "Every child needs a champion. Or two. Or three. Or more" shows children working alongside the adults to haul materials, use tools and begin building what will eventually be a playground. "Every family needs help sometimes"--children and adults take breaks from working to share food and drink--"Kindness and caring and sharing matter."

As with all of her works, Frazee's illustrations explode with life: as the beginning of spring touches the tree with light pink blooms, children play catch, families hold picnics, an adult pulls two children and a dog down the hill in a wagon. Her pencil-and-watercolor art is vibrant and action-packed, the story told entirely through her illustrations of the everyday ups and downs of the people working together to create something new and beautiful. This work is a welcome reminder that all people "are born believers. And citizens, too." --Siân Gaetano, children's and YA editor, Shelf Awareness

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