A Boy and His Mirror

Penguin/Nancy Paulsen. Jan. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780593110553.
PreS-Gr 3–Chris, a Black boy with long curly hair, is having a hard time at school. He does not understand the reason kids tease him about his hair. At home and distressed, Chris stands in front of a golden mirror; a woman appears from within it and advises him to show kids his great big heart. This picture book debut helps readers reconcile who they are with how others perceive them, suggesting that by being accepting and kind with a positive and appropriate self-loving attitude, the same can be brokered in others. The medium-sized rhyming text, in third-person narrative style, provides vocabulary words that early elementary children will know; the illustrations, created with acrylic on board and digitally, are in a soft palette of primary and secondary colors accompanying the home and school settings and the multiracial characters in this story. The art carries the emotions of the main and secondary characters with facial and body gestures that will connect with young readers. This book could be used in a third grade social studies unit covering self-identity.
VERDICT A forthright picture book that helps caregivers and teachers talk about identity with young readers.

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