cover image Southwest Sunrise

Southwest Sunrise

Nikki Grimes, illus. by Wendell Minor. Bloomsbury, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5476

The boy of color who stars in this story begins sitting in a plane seat with his arms crossed and a baseball cap over his eyes. Jayden is moving from New York to New Mexico, and he’s not happy about it. But on his first morning there, he sees “a mountain/ striped in rainbow” out of his bedroom window: “Hey! Who put that there?” As he starts to explore, exquisitely drafted spreads by Minor (Hi, I’m Norman) alternate between close-ups—desert wildflowers, birds, a tiny lizard—and sweeping, light-filled desert landscapes. The boy’s resentment begins to thaw: “Where was all this sky in New York City?” Lyrical lines by Grimes (Bedtime for Sweet Creatures) combine poetry (a flower called a wine-cup “spilling its burgundy beauty/ for me to drink up”) with exclamations: about red rock pillars, “Daddy should’ve told me/ this new place has/ its own skyscrapers!” The boy’s experience is touched with remarkable wonder and freedom; he walks alone with a guidebook to nature, musing about everything he finds. Grimes and Minor show what braving unexpected change looks like and introduce the idea of making friends with a distinctive landscape. Ages 3–6. (May)