Review: Love In The Library

I’m so excited to share one of my most anticipated titles of 2022 with you all today! Love in the Library by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and Yas Imamura is a small book that packs a huge punch of emotion. It quite literally left me in tears, which is not a common experience for me.

Title: Love In the Library
Author: Maggie Tokuda-Hall
Illustrator: Yas Imamura
Publisher: Candlewick
Published: January 25, 2022
Format: Picture Book

Inspired by the author’s grandparent’s lived experience (with mostly fictionalized dialogue) Love in the Library tells a beautiful love story set in Minidoka, an internment camp in Idaho where Japanese Americans were wrongfully imprisoned. Following the story of Tama, a young woman who works in the library at Minidoka, as she falls in love with a man named George, young readers will learn of one of the many dark moments in American history.

The bittersweet disposition of Tama and George’s love with the backdrop of their prison is felt throughout the story, and is especially prevalent in the incredibly heartfelt Author’s note in the back matter. Love in the Library provides so much hope to young readers, especially during the darkness we are all feeling in our current moment in history. Though the world may look scary, and we may feel hopeless, Love in the Library reminds us that through it all there will be beautiful moments filled with joy and love.

The illustrations by Yas Imamura perfectly blend that love and joy with the heartbreak of Tama and George’s reality on every page.

Providing a frank and hearfelt history lesson, Love in the Library would make a fantastic addition to school libraries and classrooms everywhere.

You can preorder your copy of Love In the Library at Bookshop, Amazon, or wherever you normally preorder books. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Candlewick for providing me with a review copy of Love in the Library. I have a feeling this may be one of my favorite titles of 2022, and I know I will read this one for many years to come with own little one.

About The Author:

Maggie Tokuda-Hall is the author of Also an Octopus, illustrated by Benji Davies, and the novel The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea. She lives in Oakland, California.

About The Illustrator:

Yas Imamura is the illustrator of The Very Oldest Pear Tree by Nancy I. Sanders, Winged Wonders by Meeg Pincus, and other books for children. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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Review: The Big Bath House

If you’re looking for a body positive book that is not about body positivity, I have a great pick for you today. The Big Bath House by Kyo Maclear and Gracey Zhang is a fantastic picture book that celebrates family, community, sisterhood, and bodies.

Title: The Big Bath House
Author: Kyo Maclear
Illustrator: Gracey Zhang
Publisher: Random House Studio
Published: November 16, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Following a young girl and the women in her family as they spend the day at a traditional Japanese bath house, The Big Bath House is an intimate look into the life of a young girl who doesn’t always share the same language as her family. However, this doesn’t stop them from sharing traditions, rituals, and their love for one another.

The Big Bath House invites young readers to explore Japanese culture and traditions, and in doing so, opens the door to conversations about our bodies. The Big Bath House does not shy away from nudity, so if naked bodies in children’s books make you uncomfortable, this is not the book for you.

Gracey Zhang beautifully captures the female form in all of its variety. On each bath house spread, we see women of all ages, shapes, and sizes enjoying their time together as they scrub and soak. From young cousins to grandmas, each woman is comfortable, relaxed, and, of course, squeaky clean.

I am beyond thrilled to see another book that celebrates bodies on shelves. So often children are shamed to meet our culture’s idea of modesty, but I personally believe nothing good is learned from a place of shame. We all have bodies and none of us should be ashamed of them.

I would highly recommend The Big Bath House for anyone looking to introduce young readers to body positivity. You can pick up your very own copy wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you.)

Thank you so much to Random House Studio for sharing this amazing book with me!

About The Author:

Kyo Maclear is a critically acclaimed author whose books have received starred reviews, appeared on numerous “Best of” lists, and been published in multiple languages around the world. One of her picture books, Virginia Wolf, has been adapted for the stage, and another, Julia, Child, is currently being adapted into an animated television series. Visit her on the web at kyomaclear.com.

About The Illustrator:

Gracey Zhang is a freelance illustrator and animator. She graduated with her BFA in Illustration from the Rhode Island School of Design. Her first author-illustrator picture book, Lala’s Words, was published in 2021 by Scholastic. Visit her on the web at graceyzhang.com.

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Book Tour Stop: A Sari for Ammi

I’m thrilled to be participating in the book tour for A Sari for Ammi by Mamta Nainy and Sandhya Prabhat today! This precious picture book is all about working hard and appreciating the people who mean the most to us.

Title: A Sari for Ammi
Author: Mamta Nainy
Illustrator: Sandhya Prabbhat
Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids
Published: November 9, 2021
Format: Picture Book

Following a young girl as she hatches a plan to buy her mother a gift, A Sari for Ammi teaches young readers about the traditions and cultures of Kaithoon, a town in Rajisthan known for it’s traditional saris. The young narrator explains that her Abba (father) dyes thread, and her Ammi (mother) weaves it into beautiful saris, but she never wears one of her beautiful saris herself. She enlists her sister Sadaf in her plan to save up enough money to buy one of her Ammi’s saris for her. A Sari for Ammi is a heartwarming story about the ways we support our family

The illustrations by Sadhya Prabhat are fantastic. Every page is filled with bold colors, but I especially appreciated the patterns and texture in the saris themselves.

The backmatter also contains a lovely authors note with information about Kaithoon and the saris that are made there, as well as a glossary.

A Sari For Ammi is available wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

Thank you so much to Amazon Crossing Kids for providing me with a review copy of this beautiful book!

About The Author:

Mamta Nainy is a children’s writer, editor, and translator based in New Delhi, India. She is the author of many children’s books, including A Brush with Indian Art, illustrated by Aniruddha Mukherjee, which won the Hindu Young World-Goodbooks Award in 2019; and Bioscope, illustrated by Shanti Devi, which was named to the IBBY Honour List in 2012. Follow the author on Instagram @mamtanainy.

About The Illustrator:

Sandhya Prabhat is an independent animator and illustrator from Chennai, India, who resides in the United States. She has a master’s degree in animation and digital arts from New York University. She has illustrated nearly a dozen picture books, including her recent book I Am Brown, written by Ashok Banker. She animates for TV and movies and creates content for social media websites such as Facebook, Google, and Snapchat. Follow the artist on Instagram @sandhyaprabhat.

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Fatima’s Great Outdoors

Did you know that only 22% of visitors to U.S. National Parks are people of color? Author, activist, and founder of Brown People Camping Ambreen Tariq hopes to change that with her new picture book Fatima’s Great Outdoors. Inspired by her own childhood experience, this wonderful picture book is all about an immigrant family’s first time camping in their local state park.

We are first introduced to Fatima, the youngest daughter of the Khazi family, as she looks forward to setting off on the family camping trip after a tough week at school. Before she knows it, she is packed into her family’s car with their camping gear, listening to Bollywood songs and eating samosas with her sister, mother, and father. They travel to Emerald State Park, where Fatima’s confidence is bolstered by properly assembling their tent with her Papa.


The camping trip reminds Fatima of treasured memories from her time in India, like when her mother caught lizards in their home and built a fire in a wood-burning stove. Like all good things, the family’s camping trip must end, and Fatima realizes she isn’t ready to go home. But luckily this is just the first of many adventures to come for Fatima.

I absolutely love the illustrations by Stevie Lewis in Fatima’s Great Outdoors. Her own love of nature really comes through in the way she illustrates the landscapes around the Khazi family.

I also really appreciate the way Fatima’s Great Outdoors simultaneously introduces young readers to both camping and Indian culture. Outdoors spaces are often very white and male dominated, as they are often specifically marketed to white men. This sends the message to people of color that they don’t belong in these spaces. The idea of introducing young children to camping through the eyes of an immigrant family shatters that negative stereotype, and it feels so refreshing.

Fatima’s Great Outdoors is available next week (March 30, 2021), but you can preorder it today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)

To learn more about Ambreen Tariq and her work promoting greater diversity in our public lands, please visit her website at brownpeoplecamping.com.

To learn more about Stevie Lewis and her other work (including one of my personal favorites, Prince and Knight), please visit her website at chocosweete.com.

Thank you so much to Kokila and Penguin Random House for providing me with a review copy of Fatima’s Great Outdoors. This was another one of my most anticipated titles of 2021, and I am so happy to say it did not disappoint.

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The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee

If you’re looking for a picture book about bravery and passion, I have the perfect pick for you today!

The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee by Julie Leung is a phenomenal picture book biography detailing the life of Hazel Ying Lee, the first Chinese American woman to fly for the US military.

Despite being born during a time when racial bias was rampant against Chinese people in the United States, Hazel Ying Lee wasn’t afraid of anything. Hazel fell in love with flying when she was in an airshow with a friend. She worked an “invisible job” as an elevator operator to pay for flying lessons. Regardless of both the gender and racial barriers of her time, she would go on to serve as part of the Women Airforce Service Pilots during World War II.

I appreciate that The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee doesn’t shy away from the obstacles faced by Hazel, specifically the racism she faced. From an encounter with a farmer who mistook her for a Japanese fighter when she crash-landed in a Kansas field mid-training, to Hazel’s family’s fight to bury her in a whites-only cemetery when Hazel died in service to her country at the age of 32, these examples give us a great introduction to talk to young readers about the racism directed towards Asian Americans, which seems to all too common during the time of COVID-19.

Even with these hard lessons of injustice, The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee is a beautiful book celebrating the accomplishments of a groundbreaking woman. I really appreciated the beautiful illustrations by Julie Kwon.

The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee is available wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: These are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and continue bringing content to you. Your support is always appreciated!)

Julie Leung is a children’s book author based in New York. She is also the author of one of my favorites: Paper Son: The Story of Tyrus Wong, Immigrant and Artist. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at jleungbooks.com.

Julie Kwon is an artist and illustrator based in Brooklyn, New York. The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee is her debut picture book. To learn more about her and her work, please visit her website at julikwonart.com.

Many thanks to Little, Brown Books for Young Readers for generously providing me with a review copy of The Fearless Flights of Hazel Ying Lee. I’m so grateful to have a part in sharing Hazel’s story.

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Ten Little Dumplings

Ten Little Dumplings by Larissa Fan is a precious picture book inspired by the true story of a family with ten sons.

Set in Taiwan, where having one son is considered lucky, this family is well known in their community for their ten sons. How lucky they must be!

The parents call their sons their ten little dumplings, and in this book, we follow those ten little dumplings as they grow into ten fine men.

But if you look very closely, you will see someone else there with all those little boys.

As it turns out, there is a daughter in this family, too, and she has a story of her own.

I love that this book is based on the author’s family and that she used this book to tell the story of an overlooked aunt among the story of her many uncles.

The illustrations by Cindy Wume are phenomenal. Not only are they adorable, but I love that there is a search-and-find element, as you look for the hidden daughter of the family on every spread.

Ten Little Dumplings officially releases next Tuesday (January 5, 2021) but you can preorder it today wherever you normally purchase books, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please Note: These are affiliate links. I will receive a small commission from purchases made using these links at no additional cost to you. This commission will be used to maintain this website and continue to bring content to you.)

I would like to thank Penguin Random House Tundra Books for providing me with a review copy of Ten Little Dumplings. It was an absolute joy to read!

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