The Year We Learned to Fly

Penguin/Nancy Paulsen. Jan. 2022. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780399545535.
Gr 2-4–Woodson and López are thankfully, and marvelously, back together for another title featuring the siblings first introduced in The Day You Begin. Going through a year of challenges including experiencing boredom, fighting with a sibling, being shut in, and moving to a new neighborhood, the siblings are comforted and challenged by the wisdom of their grandmother and the elders who have come before to find their inner strength to soar above and beyond the difficulties they confront. Honoring echoes of the past (masterfully captured in both text and art) with an eye set on the possibilities of the future, this uplifting and honest reflection of the experiences of many children is a perfect example of the power of the picture book. It helps children, through words and art, to be seen and also challenges them to embrace their own power and agency. The many layers of both art and language will provide fodder for rich classroom discussions, and the author’s note adds further depth honoring the work of Virginia Hamilton and Leo and Dianne Dillon.
VERDICT A must for any collection, and an outstanding example of the picture book as an artistic and literary form.

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