My Hands Tell a Story

­Reycraft. May 2022. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781478870616.
Gr 1-3–In this heartwarming story, Zoe, a young Black girl, shares reflective conversation with her grandma, inspired by Zoe’s observations of her grandma’s skillful, graceful hands as they bake bread together. The grandmother reveals how her hands hold memories, love of family, and a life lived with purpose, all of which reassure Zoe that her own hands hold strength to shape the start of her own life story. This sincere relationship of trust and care is beautifully captured in oil-painted illustrations, where quiet, personal moments within the kitchen are accompanied by an elegant, symbolic focus on hands. Engel’s painterly brush strokes in captivating scenes create textured grooves, an integral element transforming the hands and scenes depicted into sculpted lines and lively colors that appear almost tangible to readers. Vivid blended layers and gentle swirls outline the figures for a glowing effect that echoes the thoughtful tone of the story.
VERDICT Readers will pause to share in the happiness and sense of peace that bloom on the family’s faces; the spirit of finding one’s calling in this expressively illustrated book honoring family and self-love.

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