cover image Off the Wall

Off the Wall

Theodore Taylor III. Roaring Brook, $19.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-626-72294-1

In thin-lined art that juxtaposes drab and electric hues, Taylor features a child who follows street art to a place that feels like home. When narrator Sam’s parents trade their “fast, busy city life for a small, quiet one far away,” the protagonist feels “like I was from another planet.” Portrayed with brown skin and purple hair as the only nonwhite kid in class, Sam’s “ready to take the first spacecraft home” until a bright purple wall of graffiti suggests an element of their previous metropolitan residence (“The city itself was a work of art, always ready to show me something new”). Following a night of graffiti-filled dreams that feel “as if someone in town was trying to send me a message,” Sam and local cousin Lincoln set out to find the artist behind the local art—and locate a bustling community space where Sam fits right it, underscoring themes of expansion, belonging, and found family in this solo debut. An author’s note discusses the story’s roots and examines graffiti as an art form. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)