González, Xelena. All Around Us. Adriana M. García, Illus. Picture Book. Cinco Puntos, 10/2017. pp. $17.95. 978-1-941026-76-2. OUTSTANDING. GRADES K-2.
A small moment between grandfather and granddaughter expands into a larger lesson on cycles in nature. Based on the author’s own mestizo upbringing, All Around Us highlights people’s connection to each other and the larger world through the prevalence of circles. Grandpa presents examples of both visible and unseen circles that dictate nature and family, and our young protagonist quietly ponders these ideas. She sees that she is “part of the circle too. The part that we can see…just like a rainbow.” The understated text contrasts with the vibrant, dream-like illustrations. Energetic sketch lines exhibit the life in each image, and warm, glowing tones balance dark, cooler colors. Some images depict realistic scenes of gardening and walking through the neighborhood, while others present imagined underground roots and surreal juxtapositions of close-up and long-range views. This meditative picture book showcases a close intergenerational bond with lively illustrations of nature’s interconnectedness. Review based on an ARC.
Lolade Gbadebo, Oakland Public Library