cover image I Forgive Alex: A Simple Story About Understanding

I Forgive Alex: A Simple Story About Understanding

Kerascoët. Random House Studio, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-593-38150-2

Like Kerascoët’s I Walk with Vanessa, this wordless story unfolds in a busy schoolyard where small children navigate a conflict with compassion. During recess, a pink-skinned youth sets treasured drawings on a schoolyard bench while a lively game of basketball goes on nearby. Dribbling and dodging without making a pass, a red-haired, pale-skinned child—presumably Alex—sends the basketball sailing right onto the bench, tumbling the drawings into a puddle and ruining them. In a series of affecting vignettes that move from the playground to the classroom and lunchroom, the pupils, depicted with varying skin tones, throng the victim with sympathy and shun Alex—until, at end of day, the artist approaches Alex, and the two make amends. Almost no adults are involved in this slow-burn portrait of regret and forgiveness, and the children’s tiny figures and comical expressions sweeten the tale’s tricky emotional encounters. Back matter offers “What to Do” lists for “When You Hurt Someone” and “If You Are the Person Who Was Hurt,” drawing the story’s events closer to the real world and making difficult words seem easier to say. Ages 4–8. Agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Productions. (July)