Blue Sky White Stars – written by Sarvinder Naberhaus, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

  Blue Sky White Stars – written by Sarvinder Naberhaus, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, Dial Books for Young Readers, (9780803737006), 2017.

Format: Hardcover Picture Book

Rating: 1-5: (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

What did you like about the book? Naberhaus’ stirring sparse phrases combined with Nelson’s awe-inspiring images elevate this heart-felt anthem in praise of the American flag and American ideals. According to the author, the text was “written as a parallel between America and its flag – the same words describe both.” For example, the words “White Rows” appears on two facing pages; the first shows a row of white-topped wagons heading west, on the facing page, the white lines of the flag appear. Kadir Nelson’s gorgeous illustrations make clear the timely message that our country’s diversity is its strength. For instance, the words, “All American” appears on two facing pages; on one, a baseball field crowded with spectators, on the facing page, an African-American man wearing the cap of a World War II veteran listening to a radio on his porch, with his grandson standing at his elbow. Author and illustrator end notes provide additional insight into the genesis of the book.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Recommended for ages 5 and up. It is especially well-suited for reading during patriotic holidays or for anyone who wants an antidote to rhetoric that encourages divisiveness.

Who should buy this book? Elementary school libraries and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve with other Picture Books.

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  Top quarter of the pile.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Mary Melaugh, Marshall Middle School Library, Billerica, MA

Date of review:  6/27/17

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