How to Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion

Ashima Shiraishi, illus. by Yao Xiao. Make Me a World, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5247-7327-4
Teen author and climber Shiraishi doesn’t just scale rocks—she solves problems, “which is to say, I make them mine.” In crisp, vibrant spreads, Xiao, making her picture book debut, shows Shiraishi confronting a massive rock face. “Once I had a problem and it stretched into the sky,” she writes. The next spread shows the boulder covered with images, visual mnemonics to help her along the way. “One part was arched like a question mark, another part stuck out like my father’s elbow... and another was shaped like the bolts of fabric stacked in my mother’s sewing room.” Now Shiraishi starts climbing, using no ropes. Vignettes show her at each hold, twisting, pushing, grasping. Then she falls, hard. She takes a break, taking in “the new information the fall had given me. Each fall is a message, a hint, an idea.” She climbs and falls again until, eventually, she scales the wall. When problem-solving is a necessary part of any process—one that informs and aids in resilience—the specter of failure disappears. Xiao’s cleanly outlined forms and intensely saturated hues show Ashima honing analytical skills whose power reaches beyond the climbing wall to the rest of life. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/26/2020
Release date: 04/07/2020
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 40 pages - 978-1-5247-7328-1
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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