You Can!: Kids Empowering Kids

Candlewick. Oct. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781536225433.
K-Gr 4–Readers are introduced to a group of infants of various skin tones and abilities and given the opportunity to follow them into adulthood in this hopeful message to young people. It’s less of a story and more inspiration about all the things they can do and accomplish throughout their lives. The positive statement “You can” is repeated throughout the text and gently buoys readers to be their best selves. The tone is encouraging and reassuring while acknowledging there will be hard times and mistakes will be made. An afterword says that young people were interviewed as to what they felt would be important to include in the text and what they wish they’d known when they were younger. What makes this title really stand out are the diverse and inclusive illustrations, including individuals with limb differences, mobility differences, and other variances in ability. Each person presented has an assigned clothing color that makes it easy to track them from spread to spread as they age. Readers will want to return to the beginning of the book repeatedly to follow the path of each character. This is a possible gift for graduates, from kindergarten to college.
VERDICT Every individual can shine; this title is recommended for general purchase.

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