We Move the World

Harper. May 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062916853.
Gr 2-4–“In big and small ways, we move the world” proclaims debut author Lavelle, who offers a swift tour of 18 events and people from the past 130 years, from the Statue of Liberty to the COVID-19 pandemic. An initial pair of short sentences on each page or spread is in poetic second person (“We write the alphabet. We blaze a trail with words”); the tone then shifts to informational third person to focus briefly on an important figure or historical event. Lavelle includes familiar and lesser-known historical figures (e.g., the Wright brothers, Wangari Maathai) and contemporary figures (e.g., Colin Kaepernick). The book introduces young readers to people and events they may not be famliar with, which could encourage them to learn more from other sources; back matter includes a time line and “notes about the events” (some events, some biographies), selected bibliography, and further resources. Ali’s digital artwork shines, full of graceful curves and movement. He juxtaposes images beautifully and effectively to show growth and connection, such as a Black baby girl who seems to be floating above astronauts stepping onto the moon as she takes her first steps. Unfortunately, the author sacrifices depth for breadth: She does not make a meaningful connection between kids’ actions and adults’ accomplishments, explore how these inspirational people and events came to be, or provide a theme to tie the whole together.
VERDICT An additional purchase for nonfiction picture book collections.

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