Nigel and the Moon by Antwan Eady, illustrated by Gracey Zhang

Published by Katherine Tegen Books

Summary:  Nigel has big dreams: he wants to be a dancer, an astronaut, and a superhero.  At night, he tells his dreams to the moon, but during the day it’s harder to share them.  During career week at his school, other kids talk about their plans to become a doctor, an engineer, or a veterinarian, but when it’s Nigel’s turn, he’s afraid to reveal his dreams.  He’s also shy about revealing his parents’ occupations, feeling like they’re not as “fancy” as his classmates’.  On the last day of the week, parents come in to talk about their careers.  Nigel’s parents tell what they enjoy about their jobs as a mail carrier, truck driver, and the best job of all: raising Nigel.  Emboldened, Nigel stands in front of the room between his mom and dad and tells the class exactly what he hopes to become someday.  40 pages; ages 4-8.

Pros:  Nigel’s insecurities are realistically portrayed, as he struggles to find the courage to share his dreams.  The illustrations effectively portray the dreamy night sequences and the brighter daytime scenes.  This would be a great book for introducing community helpers as well as empowering shy kids to share more about themselves.

Cons:  It seemed kind of stereotypical to have Nigel, apparently the only Black kid in the class, also be the only one whose parents had more blue-collar jobs.

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