Welcome to the monthly children’s book review feature with a focus on diverse books here at Bird Meets Worm! My team of reviewers—Joan Charles, Laurie Young, Sarah Orgill—and I are so excited to be championing books celebrating everything from gender diversity, people of color, the LGBTQ community to ethnic, cultural and religious minorities, people with disabilities and developmental challenges to controversial topics, unique family situations and anything and everything I did not include. It is to say we take a rightfully broad view of diversity! We aim to shine a light on books that bring both familiar experiences to those who do not often see themselves represented in books and new experiences to those looking to expand their worldview. Here at Bird Meets Worm we believe in the power of story to build empathy and thus a better world for you and me and everyone. Look for a new review on the second Wednesday of every month.
IRA CRUMB MAKES A PRETTY GOOD FRIENDWritten by Naseem Hrab • Illustrated by Josh Holinaty
Picture Book (ages 5-8) • 32 pages
Published by Owlkids • 2017
Ira Crumb is the about to be the new kid at school. He knows that he makes a pretty good friend. He’s funny, he’s kind, and he’s even an awesome dancer. But Ira knows that the new kid always ends up alone, eating lunch by themselves and walking home solo after school. The week before school starts, Ira schemes, hoping to make some friends before the first day. From running for “Friendsident,” to holding a dance off, to playing it cool, Ira desperately tries to make a friend before the dreaded first day. He does end up trudging to school alone the first day, but fortunately meets Malcolm, who was new the year before. The two become fast friends.
With Ira Crumb, Naseem Hrab tackles real issues like loneliness and rejection that children of all ages face when in a new environment. Ira proves to be a plucky and honest character, a role model for kids in similar situations. Hrab has an ear for kid-speak, from “booger in your nose cave, pal” to “can’t stop, won’t stop!” She shows a true understanding of the fears a young child might have preparing to face a new school.
Josh Holinaty’s illustrations capture Ira’s unique character with a comic-strip style quality. His combination of human and animal characters show the real diversity in Ira’s, and our own, world.
Buy this book:
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Reviewed by: Sarah Orgill