By Matt De La Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson. G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2015. 32 pages. $16.99/hardcover; $10.99/eBook. Recommended for ages 3–5.Buy on FJ Amazon Store
This book describes the Sunday routine of a young boy and his grandmother. The routine consists of church followed by a bus ride through the city to a soup kitchen where they are volunteers. As they travel across the city, the boy asks his grandmother questions, inquiring about things such as why they do not have a car or an iPod or why this part of the city is so run-down. Her imaginative responses emphasize appreciating what you have and the natural world rather than concentrating on possessions you do not have. For example, they might not own an iPod or a car, but they can enjoy live music and magic tricks on the bus instead. I especially appreciated that they seem to regard the soup kitchen’s clients as friends they are eager to see each weekend. The inclusive and colorful illustrations increase the story’s effectiveness. The illustrations include diverse people: old and young, black and white, the able-bodied and those with disabilities. The relationship between the young boy and his grandmother is lovely. The characters in this book treat each other with kindness, humor, and respect. I believe this book could easily be used to introduce concepts such as equality, simplicity, community, and service to young readers and listeners.