Deborah Hopkinson

Adventure, anyone? While Ikumi Nakamura is best known as a Japanese video game artist and developer with an interest in horror and mystery, she has another fascinating side. As Project UrbEx: Adventures in Ghost Towns, Wastelands and Other Forgotten Worlds reveals, she’s also a fearless, adventurous photographer who has long traveled the world to explore and capture unusual and hidden locations. (For the uninitiated, UrbEx is short for urban exploration, a sometimes-dangerous pastime exploring structures and abandoned ruins in the human-made environment.)

This volume includes images from Nakamura’s explorations in North America, Europe and Asia accompanied by short, evocative essays and captions by Cam Winstanley, written based on interviews with Nakamura. The photos range from an old Italian garment factory, a decaying theme park in Bali nearly overgrown with lush vegetation, and the ruins of military planes baking in the Mojave Desert sun. A few depict Nakamura herself in precarious positions as she attempts to capture a shot.

It is unfortunate that the text is printed in neon orange, which readers may find difficult to read. Otherwise, this beautifully designed book is an intriguing conversation starter that may inspire photographers to undertake their own explorations.

 

In Project UrbEx, photographer Ikumi Nakamura explores and captures unusual and hidden locations throughout the world.

“Shabbat is the best day of the week and today is the best best day of all.” So begins Joyful Song, a cheerful contemporary story celebrating Jewish naming traditions, from the award-winning team of Lesléa Newman and Susan Gal.  

Zachary, the story’s narrator, is a new big brother—and especially proud to be pushing the carriage holding his new baby sister as he and both of his moms make their way to the synagogue. As they walk through their neighborhood, the family greets neighbors curious about the new baby. Of course, everyone wants to know her name. 

But although the baby has been called by cute nicknames such as “Little Babka,” “Snuggle Bunny” and “Shayneh Maideleh” (which means “beautiful girl”), Zachary is careful to explain that her real name will be announced on that very day, at her naming ceremony. 

Before long, friends join in to accompany the family in a happy parade. At the synagogue, Zachary steps up to play a leading role, reciting the words he has been practicing to get right. And just as the baby opens her eyes and stretches her hands out to him, he announces that she will be called Aliza Shira, which means “joyful song.” After a community lunch in the social hall, the family hurries home, where their two little dogs greet them with excited barking. 

Gal’s bright, exuberant palate is highlighted by brilliant sunshiny golds and luscious coral and orange shades. The colorful, vibrant art brings a natural warmth to the array of diverse characters depicted throughout. In an author’s note, Newman provides information about naming ceremonies and traditions around the choice of names, sharing that she was named for her grandfather who died just months before she was born. Hebrew translations are provided for several names as well. 

A final question in this heartwarming book opens the door to further conversations for all kinds of families: “Everybody’s name has an interesting story. What’s the story of yours?” 

Susan Gal’s colorful, vibrant art brings a natural warmth to the array of diverse characters depicted throughout Lesléa Newman’s Joyful Song.

Behavioral scientist Michael Norton may be a business professor at Harvard, but he’s probably best known for his TEDx Talk, “How to Buy Happiness.” Norton’s lively new book, The Ritual Effect: From Habit to Ritual, Harness the Surprising Power of Everyday Actions, may be just what the doctor ordered.

Many of us grow up associating rituals with traditional religions. Yet, Norton tells us, other kinds of rituals have an important place in our everyday lives. Personal, “secular rituals” can encompass everything from a child’s bedtime routine to activities more eccentric, like how Agatha Christie always ate an apple during her evening bath. Norton explains that rituals are different from mere habits; they strike our emotions more deeply and provide meaning to our lives.

While Norton does define what makes a ritual, his main focus is exploring the “ritual effect”: ways in which rituals can help us realize our human potential and face challenges, whether it’s public speaking, practicing self-control or being a more aware and responsive parent or partner. For example, in a section on relationship rituals, Norton discusses rituals that wake up our experience of commitment. These might be recognizing the special nature of annual celebrations, or even ordering the same takeout meal one night a week. Norton reminds us that “it matters much less what you do and much more that both of you do it regularly together.”

The Ritual Effect covers a wide range of rituals, including those associated with life-changing events like grief and loss. Norton’s examples draw from experts and a wide range of cultures and traditions. He closes his fascinating book with an invitation, or perhaps a challenge: to experiment with, explore and discover rituals to help you transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

Michael Norton’s fascinating The Ritual Effect encourages us to experiment with, explore and discover rituals to help transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.

If Marie Kondo inspired you to change the way you fold T-shirts, then artist Megumi Lorna Inouye’s guide to creating beautiful gift-wrapping is for you. Inouye traces her passion for this art to memories of watching her mother care for the lovingly wrapped garments in her kimono chest. In Japan, Inouye tells us, wrapping is considered part of the gift itself, a way to show respect, gratitude and love. And if your skills are confined to sticking presents into a bag, never fear. With a focus on sustainability, Inouye provides step-by-step instructions for wrapping, often making use of recycled materials or natural objects: Even a broken, moss-covered branch can add beauty to a gift. The photographs here are as elegant as the text, and useful too. And while the book is aimed at adults, it’s possible to do most of these projects with kids. The Soul of Gift Wrapping: Creative Techniques for Expressing Gratitude, Inspired by the Japanese Art of Giving is more than a how-to guide: This gorgeous book is a reminder that gift giving can bring the givers themselves joy.

The Soul of Gift Wrapping is a gorgeous reminder that gift giving can bring the givers themselves joy.

The title of Laura Bontje’s playful picture book is a palindrome sentence that can be read forward or backward. Palindromes are something that Hannah, protagonist of the delightful Was It a Cat I Saw?, loves: As Bontje tells us, “Anything Hannah could do forwards, she could do backwards too.” Hannah likes palindromes so much that she not only sees them everywhere—she also speaks in them.

Hannah is mostly alone in her palindrome-filled world until she meets a boy who has lost his cat. The feline’s name is Otto, of course! As they search their neighborhood for the missing feline, Hannah finds that her new friend appreciates wordplay just as much as she does. After meeting a variety of people and pets along the way, the two do find Otto, but it then turns out they’ve strayed so far from home that they’ve become lost. Never fear, though: Hannah has a trick up her sleeve to get them home safe and sound. (Astute readers may be able to pick up on the clues that reveal Otto’s journey—and the children’s way home.) Once back home, Hannah finds out her new friend’s name, in a final surprise for readers.

Each palindrome word or phrase is bolded, enabling young readers to easily identify them. Illustrator Emma Lidia Squillari’s muted palette includes gentle pinks, greens and yellows, giving the illustrations a traditional, retro feel. While the two main characters are white, there is some diversity presented in the children and families they encounter on their adventure.

Picture books encouraging wordplay make for fun read-alouds for the preschool crowd, and Was It a Cat I Saw? is an excellent choice for either the home or classroom. Even older readers who consider themselves beyond picture books may still be inspired to follow Hannah and start looking for palindromes everywhere they go.

Picture books encouraging wordplay make for fun read-alouds, and Was It a Cat I Saw? is an excellent, inspiring choice for either the home or classroom.

Uma Krishnaswami is an author living in Victoria, British Columbia, while Uma Krishnaswamy is a well-known illustrator in Chennai, India. Their names are not their only similarities: Both have an inventive, inspiring approach that makes potentially complex topics fun, child-friendly and accessible. 

Look! Look! is a companion to the creators’ previous collaboration, Out of the Way! Out of the Way!, in which a boy helps protect a young tree. Their new picture book follows a girl in India whose curiosity sparks a remarkable discovery. In between two dusty fields strewn with garbage, the child notices a gray lump. She calls her friends over to look, and together, the children brush away dirt to uncover large stone slabs. With the help of their families and nearby villagers, the site is cleared, the hole is dug deeper, and eventually a long-forgotten well is revealed. At each step in the process, the simple refrain, “Look, look!” helps punctuate the action and move the story forward. The story comes to fruition when rain arrives, bringing more transformation: “The rain had woken deep, sleeping springs, sending fresh clear water bubbling up into the old well.” 

Krishnaswami’s spare, lyrical text is complemented by Krishnaswamy’s bright, decorative palette of vibrant yellows, greens and earthy ochres. White space is used especially effectively. In one spread, plump gray rain clouds float above a patchwork of fields, while in others, small spot art vignettes provide lots of details to look at and discuss.

The back matter note (unlike many) is written with a child audience in mind. Entitled “The Old Well in This Story,” it explains that the well featured in Look! Look! is one of many ancient wells in India, which are now being rediscovered to help combat increasing drought caused by climate change.

Look! Look!’s spare, lyrical text is complemented by Uma Krishnaswamy’s bright, decorative palette of vibrant yellows, greens and earthy ochres.

Kim Hillyard freshens up the popular children’s literature theme of self-confidence in Mabel and the Mountain: A Story About Believing in Yourself (Penguin Workshop, $14.99, ​​9780593659021). Originally published in the U.K., where it won a Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Award, Hillyard’s humorous debut stars a rotund fly named Mabel, who has made a list of three big, ambitious dreams: climbing a mountain, hosting a dinner party and befriending a shark.

Intrepid Mabel has her heart set on reaching the top of a real, snow-covered mountain—not a fly-sized peak. There’s no time to waste, Hillyard reminds readers: “As everyone knows, when you have BIG PLANS it’s important to get started right away.” 

Mabel doesn’t get much encouragement from her friends. Her fellow flies, sporting knitted hats and handlebar mustaches sure to tickle kids’ funny bones, remind her that flies do not climb. But plucky Mabel forges ahead. 

Young readers will enjoy cheering Mabel on as she slowly makes her way up the mountain, one teeny tiny step at a time. A great model for believing in herself, Mabel even comes up with a cheer to keep up her flagging spirits. At last, success: The little fly summits against a rainbow-filled sky.

With the first goal on her list checked off, Mabel returns home. As for her other goals? Well, a table nearby is set for a dinner party, where Mabel finds her determination has inspired her friends to launch their own big plans. The story ends with Mabel poised on a rock above the ocean, leaving readers to imagine just how she might make friends with one of the sharks swimming in the distance. 

Mabel’s ultimate success is never in doubt, but what makes this book stand out from similarly themed stories is Hillyard’s humorous and appealing artwork featuring bold, bright colors, creative lettering and graphic elements. To show Mabel’s size, Hillyard places the fly next to a human hand along with the words, “Yes, she is small.” Along with the excellent use of white space, these playful choices make Mabel and the Mountain a perfect option for preschool or toddler storytime.

What makes this book stand out from similarly themed stories is Kim Hillyard’s humorous and appealing artwork featuring bold, bright colors, creative lettering and graphic elements.

Gardening Can Be Murder  

Horticultural expert Marta McDowell has explored the links between writers and gardens in previous books about Beatrix Potter, Frances Hodgson Burnett and U.S. presidents. It’s only natural that she’s turned her attention to the ways in which gardens have played a role in mysteries. After all, she says, “In gardens, the struggle between life and death is laid bare.”

McDowell’s Gardening Can Be Murder is as full of delights as an English cottage garden in summer. McDowell explores the connection between gardens to mysteries from all sorts of angles (as any good detective would). She provides an overview of gardening detectives from classic to contemporary, beginning with Sergeant Cuff in Wilkie Collins’ 1868 thriller The Moonstone. Cuff is a “horticulturally inclined investigator” who dreams of retiring from catching thieves to grow roses. Naturally, McDowell includes Miss Jane Marple, who often makes use of gardening and bird-watching to inform her keen-witted observations of life—and death—in St. Mary Mead. 

McDowell discusses gardens as crime scenes, as well as gardens and flowers as motives. In a chapter playfully entitled “Means: Dial M for Mulch,” she recounts examples of the deadly use of garden implements in crime fiction. Poisons, of course, merit their own chapter, and McDowell also investigates authors such as Agatha Christie, who lovingly cared for the gardens of her country home, Greenway; Rex Stout, “an indoor plant whiz”; and contemporary author Naomi Hirahara, who writes the Japantown mystery series as well as books on Japanese American gardens.

Along with photos and period illustrations, the book is visually enhanced by Yolanda Fundora’s distinctive silhouette illustrations. As an added bonus, McDowell appends a reading list of plant-related mysteries, ranging from The Moonstone to 21st-century writer Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce series. It’s not always possible to garden in winter, so dig into this book and enjoy! 

★ The League of Lady Poisoners

Lisa Perrin, an illustrator who teaches at the Maryland Institute College of Art, begins her highly entertaining and lavishly illustrated study of 25 female poisoners with this dedication: “For my parents, who really hoped my first book would be a nice children’s picture book.” And while The League of Lady Poisoners may not be for young children, it’s a sure bet that adults will eat up (pun intended) this original, thought-provoking and visually stunning book.

Perrin’s sense of color and design makes it a pleasure to simply turn the pages. The distinctive arsenic green on the eye-catching cover is used to excellent effect throughout, often as the sole color offsetting a stylized pen-and-ink illustration. For example, a skeleton with green bloodlines graces Perrin’s introduction to poisons, which includes a “toxic timeline” tracing the knowledge of plant poisons back to around 3000 BCE in ancient Egypt. There are also some gorgeous botanical illustrations of poisonous plants and creatures. (One can’t help wonder: Will they inspire some new nature-themed mysteries?)

Perrin organizes her profiles by the motives that led these women to perform their deadly deeds: money and greed, anger and revenge, and love and obsession. Each main subject appears as a full-page, color illustration, beginning with Locusta, a poison expert and assassin for hire in first-century Rome. 

While some names, such as Cleopatra, will be familiar to readers, Perrin’s well-documented research has unearthed little known stories including that of the women of Nagyrév, a small village in Hungary, who in the early 1900s sought to poison their abusive husbands with arsenic. With the aid of a midwife, the poisoning “epidemic” took hold, with at least 40 confirmed murders. Years later, when the police finally investigated, some women were sent to prison or executed while others women died by suicide to avoid such fates. 

Despite its gruesome subject matter, The League of Lady Poisoners is a beautiful book. And who knows? Perhaps Perrin will turn her attention to fictional poisoners next.

Murderabilia

Readers interested in the history of true crime will be fascinated by Harold Schechter’s clever new book, Murderabilia. The title refers to objects owned by killers or otherwise connected to their crimes—artifacts that are often sold on the internet in the present day. But as Schechter makes clear, this impulse to look at or collect grisly mementos has been around for a long time. 

Schechter brings a lifetime of research to this topic: He is Professor Emeritus at Queens College, where he has taught for four decades. Along with nonfiction works about serial killers, he’s also penned detective novels featuring Edgar Allan Poe and has a novelist’s sense of what makes a good story. And the stories here are good. As he uncovers the history of 100 grisly artifacts, Schechter provides a fascinating examination of the often unexpected and surprising ways in which crime has seeped into social history and popular culture. 

Schechter begins in 1808, with the tombstone of Naomi Wise, a North Carolina indentured servant who became pregnant by a clerk named Jonathan Lewis. Lewis promised to elope with Wise, but instead he strangled her. This sad tale was memorialized in the murder ballad “Little Omie”; in other words, we’re not the first to find the gruesome compelling.

Given the author’s deep familiarity with Poe, the master of the macabre makes an appearance here too, with Schechter linking one of Poe’s detective stories to the 1841 murder of Mary Rogers, a cigar girl. Schechter also details other kinds of murderabilia, including a hammer wielded by John Colt to murder a printer; a kind of bottled mineral water that nurse Jane Toppan laced with poison and used to kill 31 people; and a shovel used by serial killer H.H. Holmes.

Short chapters and copious illustrations make Murderabilia a great choice to leave on the night table to dip into before bed. Then again, given the subject matter, maybe not.

If you don’t have a clue what to get the true crime lovers and cozy mystery readers on your gift list, fear not—we’ve done the detecting for you.

It’s impossible when looking at World War II statistics to fully grasp the enormity of the war’s impact on the lives of ordinary people. In his ambitious new work, the Swedish journalist and historian Peter Englund turns his considerable research skills to addressing just this by exploring the lives of individuals during a single month during the war: November 1942.

Eleven months after the United States entered the war may not, at first glance, seem like an obvious turning point. But Englund argues that events during these four critical weeks turned the tide in favor of the Allies, although a final victory would still be years away. However, the author is not writing military history here. He has something more intimate in mind: to uncover what it was like for human beings caught up in what Englund calls the “struggle between barbarity and civilization.”

In November 1942: An Intimate History of the Turning Point of World War II, Englund explores his theme through a series of 39 interwoven biographies. Peter Graves’ translation from Swedish is seamless, and readers will be immediately invested in the vivid depictions of places and people, which have largely been drawn from memoirs and diaries. Some of the people are well known, such as author and pacifist Vera Brittain and Albert Camus. Other figures are more obscure. In the Hongkou district of Shanghai, a 12-year-old German refugee named Ursula Blomberg and her parents follow the war on a friend’s hidden radio. Englund uses Ursula’s diary to vibrantly bring her to life. And so it is with each individual that follows, whether it’s Willy Peter Reese, a young German infantry private; Royal Air Force machine-gunner John Bushby; or Lidiya Ginzburg, a Jewish resident in Leningrad.

November 1942 is cinematic in scope and execution, both intimate and wide-ranging. In the hands of another writer (and translator), interweaving so many disparate lives and the events of four weeks in a global war into a single cohesive narrative might fail to hold together. Instead, November 1942 stands out as a unique and remarkable achievement, and a significant contribution to our understanding of war.

Peter Englund’s November 1942 chronicles World War II through the lives of 39 people in a single month, creating a significant contribution to our understanding of war.

While there have always been avid crossword puzzle devotees among us, one recent trend that seems destined to continue is the growing popularity of word games. Whether it’s Wordle, Spelling Bee or Blossom, families and friends are finding daily enjoyment (and, yes, frustration) in learning new words. That’s the exact audience that will be delighted to discover The Dictionary People: The Unsung Heroes Who Created the Oxford English Dictionary, Sarah Ogilvie’s captivating, enchanting history.

The story of how Ogilvie—a linguist, writer and lexicographer—found her way to this project is almost as fascinating as the history itself. She begins, “It was in a hidden corner of the Oxford University Press basement, where the Dictionary’s archive is stored, that I opened a dusty box and came across a small black book tied with cream ribbon.” It was an address book, the names penned in the hand of James Murray, the longest-serving editor of the Oxford English Dictionary from 1879 until his death in 1915.

Murray, a father of 11, moved to Oxford in 1884 to work on the dictionary. For years he used a dank iron shed, nicknamed the Scriptorium, as an office. Murray and his assistants sometimes wrapped their legs in newspapers to stay warm. Ogilvie compares the monumental task of compiling the dictionary to a modern crowdsourcing project. The editor issued a global call for contributions, reaching out through newspapers, journals, clubs and schools. The result, Ogilvie tells us, “was massive,” requiring the installation of a special mailbox outside of Murray’s home. More than 3,000 contributors, primarily volunteers, mailed slips to the editor providing examples of how certain words were used, giving particular attention to rare, new or peculiar words.

Ogilvie fondly refers to these volunteers as “the Dictionary People,” and set out to discover more about them. Her research uncovered “not one but three murderers,” along with suffragists, vicars, inventors, novelists, a collector of pornography and Karl Marx’s daughter. Through their devotion and love of language, the unsung heroes of the Oxford English Dictionary have helped us understand our world better. Ogilvie’s passion for the Dictionary People is palpable and contagious, making this book a sheer delight.

The Dictionary People—which chronicles the unsung heroes who contributed to the Oxford English Dictionary—is sheer delight.

On a gloomy winter afternoon, a quiet and lonely 11-year-old named Kara Lukas notices a snow angel by the lake near the Stockholm apartment she shares with her busy mom. Something about it strikes her as strange: There are no footprints anywhere near. Curious, Kara traipses out onto the snow to look more closely. As she snaps a picture with her phone, Kara has the eerie sense someone is watching her.

So begins Stockholm-based Matthew Fox’s evocative debut middle grade novel, The Sky Over Rebecca, which won the 2019 Bath Children’s Novel Award as an unpublished manuscript.

Kara spends her school holiday break exploring her strange discovery by the lake, which leads her to find a girl named Rebecca and Rebecca’s younger brother, Samuel, who is unable to walk. The cold, hungry siblings are camping alone on the lake’s island, so Kara brings them food and an old blue coat that once belonged to her mother. Kara comes to realize the siblings are from a different time: 1944. They are Jewish refugees on the run from the Nazis, hoping to be rescued by a British plane that Rebecca believes will land on the frozen lake.

As the dangers to Rebecca and Samuel in their own time intensify and her friendship with Rebecca builds, Kara musters up courage and decides to do all she can to save them—even if it means taking dangerous risks out on the ice.

Fox’s spare yet lyrical prose is well-suited to The Sky Over Rebecca’s haunting, austere setting and atmosphere. The novel’s stylistic restraint and vividly drawn characters will intrigue young readers and help them easily follow narrative shifts between the horrifying, wartorn past and the less deadly but still frightening present.

The Sky Over Rebecca does not shy away from somber subjects, including death. Fox introduces the terror of persecution in an accessible manner for young readers who may be reading about the Holocaust for the first time. A poignant final twist leads to a resonant conclusion in this memorable first novel.

The Sky Over Rebecca’s stylistic restraint and vividly drawn characters will intrigue young readers and help them easily follow narrative shifts between horrifying, wartorn 1944 and the less deadly present.

It’s no accident that Mark Twain scholar Mark Dawidziak begins A Mystery of Mysteries: The Death and Life of Edgar Allan Poe with Poe’s mysterious death in 1849 at the age of 40. As Dawidziak reminds us throughout his ambitious, well-researched book, the circumstances of Poe’s death remain a topic of debate and conjecture, as much a part of the Poe mystique as his short, stormy life. “It is,” Dawidziak notes, “one of the great literary stage exits of all time,” and its notoriety has done much to keep Poe’s reputation alive, making him one of the most famous American authors of all time, with a pop culture following as well as a solid place in middle school and high school literary curricula.

Dawidziak adopts a clever—and appropriate—organizational approach, alternating chapters set in the last months of Poe’s life with chapters exploring his early family life, career and influences. Readers who know little of Poe’s origins may be surprised to learn that this quintessential American author spent part of his formative years abroad. Poe’s mother was a talented actor who died at the age of 24, leaving three children behind. Poe became the foster child of John and Fanny Allan (thus his middle name), who, during the War of 1812, moved to England, where Poe spent five years soaking up impressions of old houses and graveyards that fed his literary imagination.

Throughout the book, Dawidziak draws readers into the mystery of Poe’s death, which occurred shortly after he was found wandering the streets of Baltimore, Maryland, delirious and disheveled. Dawidziak, of course, has a favorite theory about the likely cause, gleaned from the various opinions of medical experts, Poe scholars, historians, horror specialists and others—but it would spoil the mystery to reveal it here. Nonetheless, his argument demonstrates one of the pleasures of Dawidziak’s excellent book: his ability to weave quotations from Poe together with first-person observations from Poe’s 19th-century contemporaries and commentary by modern experts. In this way, Dawidziak’s biography reaches beyond the myth of Poe to reveal the actual man and writer, all while painting a vivid picture of the era in which he lived. A Mystery of Mysteries makes possible a deeper appreciation of a complicated, often troubled author whose success after death surpassed anything he knew in life.

Mark Dawidziak’s biography of Edgar Allan Poe reaches beyond the myth of his troubled life and mysterious death to reveal the actual man and writer.

Two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Marla Frazee brings her considerable talents to a timeless celebration of birth and life in In Every Life, a wonder of a picture book. 

In an introductory note, Frazee shares the long history of her book’s inception. In 1998, she witnessed a call-and-response-style blessing for a new baby. She’s made a number of attempts to illustrate the blessing, but it took her more than 20 years to find the right way to finish the project. The book, dedicated to her first grandchild, is certainly worth the wait.

The book’s format is deceptively simple, with spreads alternating between text and gorgeous, wordless, full-bleed paintings created with a soft palette of pencil and gouache that’s resplendent with golds, blues, pinks and violets. Frazee’s prose lends a lyrical, comforting rhythm to the textual spreads, which contain a single phrase rendered in large type and interrupted by the gutter: “In every birth, / blessed is the wonder”; “In every smile, / blessed is the light.” Beneath each phrase are full-color spot-art depictions of families, with a single shade dominating each spread. In the “birth” spread, for instance, we see a diverse array of parents, grandparents and siblings welcoming newborns, all highlighted in pink tones.

As its title suggests, In Every Life plumbs deeper expressions of the mysteries of human experiences, including sadness, illness, pain and love. Frazee’s art has a classic, almost retro feel, and there is so much here for young readers to observe and discover. She doesn’t shy away from scenes that will be best shared with children by adults in a quiet, one-on-one setting, rather than in a group or storytime setting. Vignettes that accompany a line about sadness and comfort include a crestfallen child next to a soccer ball, a family mourning their pet and a young patient in a hospital bed. Yet there is light humor here, too: In a spread about hope, Frazee portrays two people with a kite checking the sky for a breeze, a child on the potty and a family preparing a turkey for roasting. 

Frazee’s love both for her art and for life itself shines from each page of In Every Life. This gentle, luminous book is a treasure. 

Two-time Caldecott Honor recipient Marla Frazee’s love for both her art and life itself shine from each page of this gentle, luminous treasure of a book.

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