Eyes That Kiss in the Corners

HarperCollins/Harper. Jan. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062915627.
K-Gr 3–When she does not share physical traits with those around her, a young girl finds beauty in her uniqueness. One day at school, a young girl of Asian heritage remarks on the shape and color of the eyes of the light- and dark-skinned girls in her class. Instead of having big eyes with long lashes, hers “kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea.” At home, the girl celebrates all she shares with her Mama, Amah, and little sister Mei-Mei. Together, these four women view the world through their matching, expressive eyes. Even when she feels apart from her peers at school, the young protagonist finds solace in the shared appearance of her family’s eyes. Sweeping, expressive illustrations deeply connect readers to the many dimensions of this story. The featured characters comprise three generations of Asian women; the only male in the book is found in the background of a scene in the schoolyard. Lyrical text propels the story; while relatively limited, each word is carefully chosen to beautifully enhance the message.
VERDICT Expertly paired, the text and illustrations amplify each other superbly, in an important addition to every library serving young children and their families.

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