All Around Us

Xelena González, illus. by Adriana M. Garcia. Cinco Puntos (Consortium, dist.), $16.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-941026-76-2
A girl and her grandfather contemplate circles, both physical and metaphorical, in this thought-provoking tale of family, community, and interconnection, a debut for both author and artist. As they walk through a suburban neighborhood of shingled houses and chain-link fences, the grandfather suggests that a rainbow overhead is actually a full circle: “The rest of it is down below, in the earth, where water and light feed new life.” Soon, the girl is noticing circles everywhere, including the roundness of their eyes and the way her grandfather “saves the stems, leaves, and seeds” of the vegetables they grow to rebury. “What we take from the earth, we return,” he tells her. On several pages, González’s text follows soaring arcs itself, and circular shapes dominate Garcia’s multilayered illustrations. Her tender portraits highlight the intimate bond between the narrator and her grandfather, while bright, zigzagging lines create a setting that hums with energy, underscoring a connection between people and planet. The family’s mestizo heritage is central to the story, including a tradition of burying a mother’s placenta when a child is born, which the author’s note discusses in more detail. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/21/2017
Release date: 09/01/2017
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