I love Carlos Hernandez’s Sal and Gabi Break the Universe (2019). It is a roller-coaster ride of a sci-fi adventure featuring amazing characters who are all exceptionally kind and utterly quirky. Sal, a young magician, has just moved to Miami with his dad and stepmom. He’s enrolled in a school for talented youth where he ends up spending more time in the principal’s office than the classroom. Readers learn pretty early that Sal is able to transport objects, including iterations of his deceased mother, from one dimension to another. His father is a scientist trying to figure the whole thing out. Although the science is never detailed it’s present throughout.
Neither (2018), created by Airlie Anderson, is a study in collapsing binaries. It’s both silly and serious, or perhaps neither of those things, depending on your point-of-view.
Anderson’s book opens like a fairy tale and reads like an allegory. Once upon a time, in a far way place named the Land of This and That, there were blue bunnies and yellow birds. Then something that was both, or neither, hatched. This thing that was both or neither had a bird body, bunny ears, and a bunny tale. Instead of being yellow or blue, it was green. The birds and bunnies didn’t know what to make of the new arrival and so they made fun at its expense, naming it Neither. Continue reading
Maya Gonzalez’s necessary children’s picture book, When a Bully is President: Truth and Creativity in Oppressive Times (2017), sends a positive message to children about the power of creativity, awareness, self-care, and community engagement. When a Bully is President requires reflection and discussion, preferably with a knowledgeable person who can help children work through complex connections between the “big” and “small,” past and present, forms of bullying Gonzalez describes.