Keeping The City Going (Brian Floca)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Keeping The City Going by Brian Floca, an earnest and touching ode to essential service workers during the COVID pandemic.

The city is not as it used to be, two children note as they stare out their windows at the strangely quiet and barren New York City streets. And yet, though the majority of the city is staying inside their homes, there are still a few people out and about. They’re delivering food, from restaurants or to grocery stores, and making sure the city stays fed. Utility workers are keeping the electricity, water, and internet running, so that people can stay safe and connected. First responders are taking care of emergencies, sanitation workers are keeping the city clean, postal workers and delivery drivers are bringing us all the things we need (and, yes, also the things we don’t need, but might make us feel better). Medical workers are working day and night to keep people healthy and heal the sick. And while the city is eerily quiet, there is one time of day when it is cacophonous: at seven o’clock, when the citizens of New York throw open their windows and yell, clap, sing, and shout their thanks to the people keeping the city going.

Beautiful. The pandemic was certainly a time unlike that which most of us had ever experienced in our lives (and hopefully won’t have to again), filled with the great deal of uncertainty and loss. However, as with most trying times, everyday heroes emerged, and this heartfelt celebration of essential workers – and the way several major cities came together to show their appreciation for them daily – is a wonderful reminder of this. It also provides an interesting time capsule of such a unique yet universal experience, expressed in bits of comedy, bits of pathos, and a deeply humanitarian tone. By the end, I found myself a little misty-eyed, and it was nice to remember all the good people tried to do during a very bad time. The length is best for elementary-aged bookworms and older, and JJ enjoyed it, especially identifying workers by their vehicles and uniforms. A lovely reminder of what connects us in times of trouble, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved.

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

What’s All The Commotion?: A Book About Social Distancing (Jessie Glenn)

Hello, friends! Our book today is What’s All The Commotion?: A Book About Social Distancing, written by Jessie Glenn and illustrated by Kevin King.

We all know a few of the basics: we should wash our hands often, cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze, and stay home when we’re sick. But why is it so especially important now? Why can’t little bookworms go to school, or play with their friends? This straightforward title attempts to explain why, in a way that is optimistic and comforting for young readers, we must do what we can to help each other and ourselves stay safe and healthy.

Informative yet reassuring. This indie title briefly covers some of the most important factors of the COVID pandemic, deftly managing to tread a fine line between honest facts and comforting encouragement. Social distancing, as the title would suggest, is the main topic; readers are given a brief explanation on how social distancing prevents the virus from spreading, acknowledges the difficulties of isolation for people of all ages, and promises that this way of life will not last forever. And while it was slightly disappointing that the importance of masks and other PPE were not covered as thoroughly, this brief, candid and ultimately affirming approach is very effective. The illustrations are simple, yet inviting and colorful, displaying a diverse cast of characters and a generally comforting tone. The length is perfect for any age, and JJ enjoyed it. While perhaps not a complete look at the complications of social distancing, this earnest title is a great way to help little readers understand their new reality, and even assuage some fears. We definitely recommend it, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this was provided to The Baby Bookworm by a representative of the creators in exchange for an honest review.)