cover image Dream Street

Dream Street

Tricia Elam Walker, illus. by Ekua Holmes. Random/Schwartz, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-525-58110-9

Each spread in this powerful evocation of a warm, closely knit Black neighborhood offers a short sketch-in-language of one of its inhabitants by Elam Walker (Nana Akua Goes to School) and a vivid, brilliant collage portrait by Holmes (What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?)—cousins who, they explain in a note, grew up in such a neighborhood themselves. Belle, who wants to be a lepidopterist, catches butterflies in a jar but always lets them go: “Everything has a right to be free.” Zion, who’s always reading, whispers to the librarian, “Can boys be librarians?” (“Of course they can!” she whispers back.) Grown-ups live on Dream Street, too: Dessa Rae dozes with her grandbaby Little Song; her magnolias “make your eyes feel heavy, as if they want to close.” From elders like Mr. Sidney, the retired mail carrier dressed “to the nines,” to small children such as young Benjamin, who listens to the big kids playing after his bedtime, everybody knows everybody else, their lives are intertwined, and positive messages abound: “Don’t wait to have a great day,” says Mr. Sidney—“Create one!” A buoyant celebration of community nourishment, extolling the virtues of supporting children in dreaming freely and fully. Ages 4–8. Agent (for Elam Walker and Holmes): Regina Brooks, Serendipity Literary. (Nov.)