Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? Usha and the Stolen Sun highlights the good in people during a time when children need to be reminded that there is more that unites us than what may appear to divide. Usha’s village hasn’t had sunshine in many years. Her grandfather attempts to explain why, but the story is so old it has faded from his memory. In a nutshell, he tells her that the brick wall built by the people who make the rules has been there for as long as he can remember. Usha decides to go to the wall and sets out on the journey. Day and night she walks with her pup. Finally, she arrives exhausted in the darkness and goes to sleep. The next morning she wakes and finds herself next to the wall. She pounds, kicks, and tries to scale it. Suddenly, a brick begins to wobble. Voices can be heard on the other side. Usha begins to tell her grandfather’s stories to the strangers on the other side. The wall begins to tremble and shake and it crashes to the ground. To her surprise, there are children, just like her, waiting. The sun shines on everyone, most of all her grandfather, as Usha returns home with the sun. This story works on many levels. For the younger reader, it can serve as a reminder to include and accept everyone. Middle age readers may be ready for a broader discussion around discrimination and exclusion. Older grade readers will be able to explore immigration practices and limitations and dig deeper into the topic. The illustrations are beautifully rendered, mirroring the mood and tone of the story as it progresses.
Anything you didn’t like about it? No
To whom would you recommend this book? Mr. Pig’s Big Wall by Hernandez is a perfect complement to this story.
Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Linda Broderick, Lincoln Street Elementary School, Northboro, MA
Date of review: 12/6/2020