cover image Here I Am

Here I Am

Patti Kim, illus. by Sonia Sanchez. Capstone, $14.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-62370-036-2

In a nearly wordless picture book, Kim and Sanchez examine the difficulties, adjustments, and eventual triumphs that accompany one boy's transition from an unspecified Asian nation to New York City with his family. The book's very wordlessness highlights the boy's unfamiliarity with English%E2%80%94signs on storefronts read as gibberish; a teacher neatly writes "bla bla bla" on the chalkboard%E2%80%94and Sanchez's palette veers from the dull tans and grays of the airport to the shocking blue and yellow lights of the city at night with a page turn. The boy is initially despondent, cranky, lonely, and bored%E2%80%94his only comfort is a red seed he carries, a memento of home. When that seed finds its way into the pocket of a girl skipping rope outside the boy's brownstone, he's finally drawn into the city, learning to embrace street food, friendly pigeons, and the smells wafting from a corner cafe. For children who have moved to an unfamiliar country or town, it's a sensitive reminder that they are not alone; for others, it'll be an eye-opening window into what those kids are going through. Ages 5%E2%80%9310. Illustrator's agent: Teresa Kietlinski, Prospect Agency. (Sept.)