cover image My Hands Tell a Story

My Hands Tell a Story

Kelly Starling Lyons, illus. by Tonya Engel. Reycraft, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4788-7061-6

Hands and the stories they tell become the means through which a Black child bonds with a beloved grandmother in this expressive, painterly picture book. While showing Zoe how to bake cinnamon bread like her mother taught her (“Ingredients are only part of it. You’ve got to get the rhythm”), Zoe’s grandma describes some of what her hands have seen and done—from dancing onstage to growing a vegetable garden early in her marriage—prompting Zoe to reflect on the future. “I look at my hands, really look at them, for the first time./ I can see memories in every line.// Clapping games with friends./ Drawing my dreams./ Building and baking,” Zoe describes. When the bread is finished, the pair high five, and Grandma remarks upon the physical similarity between their hands, while also musing about the different life experiences Zoe is sure to have. With big brushstrokes, Engel’s thickly textured paintings lend a timeless feel to Lyons’s heartwarming portrait of grandparent-child love. Ages 5–10. (Mar.)