cover image Place Hand Here

Place Hand Here

Katie Yamasaki. Norton Young Readers, $18.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-324-01703-5

A “plain, old” hand painted on a building’s “plain, old” wall forms a gateway to loved ones in this connective picture book from muralist Yamasaki (Shapes, Lines, and Light). The title’s narrating protagonist, portrayed with brown skin, details the bridging effect of the yellow handprint, which is painted inside a lime green heart on their grandmother’s building. Upon placing a hand on the mural, neighbor Ms. Iris experiences a return “to my country,/ To my sister’s kitchen.” It reminds the narrator’s friend Devin of his big sister, who left for college two months ago. A cab driver called Amit recalls family who “lives on the other side of the sea.” And another friend remembers her abuela, with whom she used to do puzzles. On their grandmother’s lap, the protagonist reads a letter from their mother: “When you feel lonely, place your hand here,” it says, on the image of a handprint. Inspired, the child paints its likeness on the wall, a compassionate act of creation that eases a wait of their own and provides a public space for longing and love. Characters are portrayed with various skin tones. An author’s note discusses families separated by incarceration. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)