cover image Blue Sky White Stars

Blue Sky White Stars

Sarvinder Naberhaus, illus. by Kadir Nelson. Dial, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8037-3700-6

Nelson’s (If You Plant a Seed) dazzling paintings bring life and power to Naberhaus’s (Boom Boom) understated patriotic tribute. Several spreads place dramatic American scenery beside images of the nation’s flag. The words “Blue sky/ White stars” accompany a view of the Statue of Liberty seen against a star-studded night sky. On the facing page, the words reappear, this time against the blue ground and white stars of the flag. Some lines use homophonic wordplay to striking effect: a portrait of a seamstress at work (Betsy Ross, perhaps?) appears with the words “Sew together/ Won nation.” On the facing page, a quiltlike conglomeration of faces bears the words “So together/ One nation.” Nelson’s splendid images of the American experience—the Grand Canyon, triumphant civil rights protestors, astronauts on the surface of the moon, a proud African-American veteran, and more—stir real feeling. They include Americans of every age and ethnicity, and many readers will feel that this book looks like the America they know. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (June)