Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment (Parker Curry & Jessica Curry)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment, written by Parker Curry and Jessica Curry, and illustrated by Brittany Jackson.

One rainy day, Parker’s mom suggests that they take a trip to the museum. Along with her little sister Ava, her best friend Gia, and Gia’s mom, the group spends a few hours looking at the beautiful art. The imaginations of the three young girls allows the art to come alive, leaping from the canvas in games of make-believe. Just as they are about to leave, Parker notices a portrait she’s never seen before: a beautiful black woman in a vibrant gown. She has warm eyes that remind Parker of all the precious women in her life, and even of herself. Parker is mesmerized by the painting – who is this woman? A queen? Her mom explains that the woman is Michelle Obama, an accomplished lawyer, activist, writer, leader, mother, First Lady and more. Parker marvels at this, and just as the other portraits had came alive, so does this one – with the endless possibilities open to her, and all that she can achieve… all with a little inspiration.

Fantastic. Based on the viral photos of the real-life Parker’s reaction to Amy Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama, the coauthors do a phenomenal job of not only capturing this adorable moment, but illustrating exactly why it was so much more than only that. More than a cute anecdote, the story explores the importance of representation and how it can inspire and motivate young people in incomparable ways. The buildup of the girls imagining paintings to life is charming and fun, and dovetails perfectly when Parker, seeing Obama and hearing of all her achievements (perfectly illustrated on a spread that literally surrounds Parker in titles and adjectives the former First Lady has embodied), is inspired to view herself capable of achieving all of her own goals. Jackson’s artwork has the magic of a modern fairy tale, featuring wide-eyed, playful characters and stunning interpretations of the National Portrait gallery and the works housed within. The length is perfect, and JJ and I loved it. A lovely tale that captures a moment, cementing it for future dreamers. Baby Bookworm approved!

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

Grace For President (Kelly DiPucchio)

Summer Reading Day 82: Hey everyone! In the spirit of Women’s Equality Day, today we read Grace For President, written by Kelly DiPucchio and illustrated by LeUyen Pham. In it, a little girl named Grace learns that there has never been a woman president, and decides that she will run for president someday. Her teacher decides to put together an election for class president, and Grace finds that her opponent is one of the most accomplished and popular boys in school. Grace decides to try her hardest, though: she campaigns, talks to students about what they want and builds a political platform, then does her best to convince everyone that she would be the best “man” for the job.

This was such an awesome book, especially during election time. First, it explains the electoral college and gives a crash course in how candidates campaign for young readers. But what we really loved was the message: girls are just as capable and deserving of holding public office, including the presidency, as boys are, especially if they work hard and earn it. Grace’s opponent realizes early on that the boys in their class have more electoral votes than the girls, and coasts on the presumption that he will win based on this. The books shows that it is Grace’s tireless dedication to the school that ensures her win, and that’s a great message as well, that winning an election cannot just be about popularity, it’s about who is best for the job. Lastly, Grace is a female POC character, and a fantastic fictional representation of both.

The length was great for Baby Bookworm, and she LOVED the simple and colorful animation-style illustrations. Overall, this is a fantastic book, and absolutely Baby Bookworm approved!