cover image A Girl Can Build Anything

A Girl Can Build Anything

e.E. Charlton-Trujillo and Pat Zietlow Miller, illus. by Keisha Morris. Viking, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-46374-1

“A girl can build many things./ A girl can build anything.” Employing this emboldening refrain throughout, previous collaborators Charlton-Trujillo and Zietlow Miller (the Lupe Lopez books) empower readers to dream—and build—big in this book boasting a cast of construction-capable girls. As affirming text kicks off with “a vision./ A sketch./ And a plan,” digitally collaged tissue paper scenes from Morris (All Aboard the Schooltrain) depict a child, shown with brown skin, drawing in a notebook. In subsequent scenes, a communal cast ranging in abilities, ages, body types, and skin tones works to build a variety of structures, starting with simple objects (“A box?/ A birdhouse?// A bookshelf?”) and leading to more elaborate projects, all improvements to an abandoned playground strewn with “caution” tape. Text introduces building materials (“Sheetrock./ Shingles./ Or shutters”) as well as tools (“Drivers./ Handles./ Levers”) as characters construct a trellis, a table, a tree house, and more. Acknowledging that some projects may lean, wobble, or completely collapse, growth-mindset lines invite creators to return to the drawing board (“Failure isn’t final./ It’s where new ideas are made”). It’s a confidence-boosting look at teamwork that shows the whole as greater than the sum of its parts. Ages 4–8. Authors’ agents: (for Charlton-Trujillo) Erin Murphy, Erin Murphy Literary; (for Miller) Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Claire Easton, Painted Words. (Apr.)