cover image Can We Please Give the Police Department to the Grandmothers?

Can We Please Give the Police Department to the Grandmothers?

Junauda Petrus, illus. by Kristen Uroda. Dutton, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-5934-6233-1

Lush, luminous, and celebratory, the words and images of this poem turned picture book offer a powerful meditation on intergenerational bonds and community care. In jewel-bright illustrations, Uroda interprets Petrus’s vision of grandmothers as peacekeepers who drive “badass” classic cars, play “old-school jams” including Patti LaBelle and Stevie Wonder, and who—in response to trouble—“will pick you up swiftly in their sweet rides and look at you until you catch shame,” then “ask you if you are hungry.” In this moving portrait of a precinct-free world, there are, instead, “just love temples with spaces to meditate and eat delicious food.” There, grandmas, who help with homework and pass on various lessons, ensure that “All the hungry bellies will know warmth. All the children will expect love.” Sun-splashed and star-strewn scenes depict a brown-skinned cast of grandmothers, who present across ages and gender expressions, capturing the vivacious energy of elders “comfortable in loving fiercely” that’s reflected in the language’s soaring weightlessness. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)