cover image I'm Here

I'm Here

Peter H. Reynolds. S&S/Atheneum, $15.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4169-9649-1

In the vein of The Dot and Ish, Reynolds offers another characteristically gentle and empathetic small-format book, written from the perspective of a boy who watches, from a distance, as other children play: "They are there. I am here." Their voices are "Splashes upon splashes of sound" that he hears "like one big noise. A big drum. Boom. Boom." When a sheet of paper floats down from the sky ("White rectangle. How did you find me?"), the boy folds it into an airplane. His imagination sends him soaring in a paper airplane ride before the narrative returns to reality, and the plane is retrieved by a girl who returns it to him: " %E2%80%98I'm here,' says the girl's smile." Though back matter explains that the book was written "to help us all reach out, embrace, and appreciate children in the autism spectrum," the pared-down prose and artwork, painted in Reynolds's typical loose style, are open to multiple interpretations and may facilitate conversations about reaching out to others who are different%E2%80%94and alone%E2%80%94for many reasons. Ages 4%E2%80%938. (Aug.)