The Little Book of Joy by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams and Rachel Neumann, illustrated by Rafael López. Crown Books for Young Readers, 2022. 9780593484234
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3
Format: Hardcover picture books
What did you like about the book? Two good friends, who both just happen to be Nobel prize winners, relate the story of finding each other as friends. United by the quest to spread peace and joy to their communities and to the world, their message is powerful. If you look beyond the things that make you sad and find the joy that is everywhere, you will find peace. Rafael López’s wonderful mixed media illustrations carry this book, using rainbow colors and loving portrayals of the two men as boys. The art helps us celebrate the loveliness in small details all around – the birds in the sky, flowers, silly games shared with a sibling, and the loving hug of a caregiver.
A sweet, playful photograph appears at the end, with short biographies of the men. This could be a nice read aloud for anyone experiencing sadness, or just as a pick-me-up on a gloomy day.
Anything you didn’t like about it? If I were a kid, I would have so many questions! How did they meet? Exactly why didn’t they make friends as children? Why wouldn’t the other kids let them play with them? These details are absent. A short paragraph on the facts of their friendship would have added depth.
To whom would you recommend this book? For the picture book crowd, as a light, positive adjunct to story time on friendship.
Who should buy this book? Daycare centers and public libraries
Where would you shelve it ? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Near the top, for the illustrations alone!
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA
Date of review: November 28, 2022