Everything In Its Place: A Story of Books and Belonging by Pauline David-Sax, illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

Published by Doubleday Books for Young Readers

Summary:  Nicky prefers helping out in the library to joining the other kids at recess.  When Ms. Gilliam tells her she’s going to a week-long conference, Nicky starts to feel anxious about having to go outside for recess.  After school, she hangs out at her mom’s cafe, where one of her favorite customers is Maggie, a woman who is fearless about being herself and riding a motorcycle.  The weekend before the library conference, Maggie comes in with a group of women she calls her “motorcycle sisters”.  They don’t look like sisters, but they eat and laugh together in a way that Nicky admires.  On Monday, Nicky sits against the wall at recess reading a book of poetry that Maggie gave her.  A girl walks over to her and tells her that she loves poetry.  Nicky remembers something Maggie told her about taking a risk, and she replies, “Me too.”  40 pages; grades K-4.

Pros:  An understated story about taking risks and finding your people.  I love the illustrations which include elements of collage including library stuff.

Cons:  I wish the poem Nicky reads (“Wild Geese” by Mary Oliver) had been included.  Also, Nicky’s question “Who needs recess when you can reshelve books?” hit a little too close to home.

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