National Book Award winner and national treasure Jacqueline Woodson (Brown Girl Dreaming) teams up with two-time Pura Belpré Award recipient Rafael López (Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics) to deliver an empowering message to any child who has ever felt too different.
Woodson's poem warns, "There will be times when you walk into a room/ and no one there is quite like you." Angelina, an African American girl, feels insecure that she spent summer vacation home reading to her little sister while "other students were flying/ and sailing and/ going somewhere." Glowing bursts of watercolor fireworks surround her classmates and their souvenirs, while empty-handed Angelina sits to the side against a background of dull gray. When she finds the words to explain her reading adventures, though, they trigger an image of Angelina and her sister flying in a sun-buttered sky over the ocean to a domed building, akin to the Taj Mahal. Other children in her diverse classroom, including a Venezuelan boy with an accent, a Caucasian boy who lacks athletic ability and an Asian American girl with kimchi in her lunch feel isolated by their differences, but when they open up to each other about their dissimilarities, they find unexpected common ground.
Woodson and López offer a needed message of comfort to preschool and early elementary students. Woodson's lulling free verse reassures the reader that the world will "make some space," while López's dreamy, near-translucent mixed-media illustrations thrum with playful joy. This gentle, powerful ode to diversity and acceptance belongs with all children. --Jaclyn Fulwood, youth services division manager at Main Branch, Dayton Metro Library