You Matter

S. & S./Atheneum. May 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781534421691.
PreS-Gr 1–Robinson follows up his acclaimed debut Another with more of his spirited illustrations and spare, reaffirming prose. From “the small stuff too small to see,” viewed by a young girl peering through a microscope, Robinson depicts the perspectives of many creatures and people. Robinson’s cut paper illustrations depict a timeline of existence through prehistoric times, through space, and finally in a contemporary, urban setting. Each spread contains small details that link one scene to the next, emphasizing his message of connectivity. Robinson captures sentiments many young readers are familiar with (“when everyone thinks you’re a pest,” “the first to go and the last”) and repeats the titular phrase throughout the book as an uplifting mantra. Robinson conveys complex themes, hinting at the universality of emotions, while validating the individual emotional journey of young readers. The choice of characters and settings work seamlessly to convey the passage of time and the endurance of his message of resilience and the significance of how we all relate and contribute to the world around us.
VERDICT An earnest message and charming illustrations grow more poignant under closer reading. Highly recommended.

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