I Walk with Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness

Kerascoët. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5247-6955-0
In this powerful wordless tale by the French duo Kerascoët (Paul and Antoinette), a child reaches out to a fellow pupil who has been bullied. Vanessa isn’t the only child of color in her school, but she is new; the teacher introduces her, and she sits by herself. On the way home, she’s accosted by a boy with yellow hair, cries, and runs back to her house. Another girl sees what has happened, and, in an important series of vignettes, the artists make it clear how much the incident upsets her—one nighttime spread shows both girls awake and despondent in their bedrooms. In the morning, the girl invites Vanessa to walk to school with her, and they are soon joined by other children. It’s not a story about bullying per se—although Vanessa’s pain is evident, her emotions are not its focus. Instead, it looks at stepping up and being an ally. The wordless pages and small, toylike figures make this a good choice for young children who can work out for themselves what has happened, what Vanessa’s new friend does, and why it works. Ages 4–8. Agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/11/2017
Release date: 02/06/2018
Library Binding - 40 pages - 978-1-5247-6956-7
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