cover image Patchwork


Matt de la Peña, illus. by Corinna Luyken. Putnam, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-9848-1396-1

In a series of poetic vignettes, the creators of this contemplative picture book introduce an array of children whose early traits or talents seem to suggest a determined life path. One, portrayed with brown skin, seems “put on this earth to dance./ We know, we know”; another, who reads as white, is “the kid perpetually in time-out./ We sigh, we sigh.” But the young dancer’s innate rhythm leads to a career as a coder who can “change the way the world moves,” while the class cut-up becomes a life-changing teacher when interacting with “a restless kid like you.” Using hatch marks and quiltlike squares of color, Luyken (Something Good) celebrates the capacity to explore and change: introductory images employ a limited palette, giving way to multihued views of additional depth and dimensionality as the children, portrayed with varying skin tones, mature and transform. In expansive lines, de la Peña (Milo Imagines the World) counters messages of narrowing one’s sights, conveying the heartening idea that lives of meaning emerge, instead, from “mismatched scraps accumulated over time/ and stitched together/ into a kind of patchwork.” Ages 4–8. Agent (for de la Peña and Luyken): Steven Malk, Writers House. (Aug.)