cover image Nigel and the Moon

Nigel and the Moon

Antwan Eady, illus. by Gracey Zhang. HarperCollins/Tegen, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-06-305628-2

In this expansive exploration of childhood hope, a Black boy named Nigel shares his aspirations—to be an astronaut, a dancer, a superhero—with the moon each night but struggles with whether to share his closely held wishes Earth-side. During his class’s career week, he can’t find a ballerino who resembles him in any of the library’s books, and when he shadows his postal carrier mother “house after house, block after block,” the moon feels far away. Worried that he’s wishing for too much, and aware that his parents “don’t have fancy jobs” like those of his largely pink-skinned classmates’ parents, Nigel avoids offering up his hopes publicly. But when his folks stop by to speak about their professions, delighting his classmates and mentioning “the best job we’ve ever had,” Nigel finds courage to move beyond comparison. Hitting notes of hope, fear, love, and pride while subtly tackling themes of class, gender expectations, and race, Eady’s debut is matched beat for layered beat by Zhang’s (Lala’s Words) fluid ink, gouache, and watercolor illustrations, which depict Nigel as small but trusting against a looming, ponderous moon. A loving exhortation to “Dream big... And be proud of who you are.” Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Penny Moore, Aevitas Creative. Illustrator’s agent: Hannah Mann, Writers House. (Feb.)