Memory Jars

Roaring Brook. May 2021. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250314871.
K-Gr 3–A sweet story of a child’s attempts to capture all of her favorite memories in one place. Freda is a young girl who likes spending time with her gran, and among the activities they enjoy together is picking berries. When Freda realizes she can’t eat all of the berries they pick in one day, her gran shows her how to make jam to save the fruit. This is something Freda remembers her grandfather enjoying and she gets the idea to preserve other things in the same way, starting with a warm chocolate chip cookie. When it works, she moves on to storing her other favorite things, including her best friend Jack, whose family is about to move away, the full moon, and a unicorn-shaped cloud. She eventually realizes that by storing these things away, she isn’t getting to experience or enjoy them. Brosgol (Leave Me Alone!) uses gouache illustrations to bring Freda’s world to life. Freda and her grandmother are Black, while Jack is white. The illustrations are bright and colorful at the beginning of the story but get darker and gloomy as Freda fills her jars. Text and pictures work together to convey Freda’s feelings of excitement, happiness, and eventual worry.
VERDICT Readers will delight in Freda’s journey to keep her memories safe, as well as her subsequent understanding of what she has done, in a book that would be at home in all collections.

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