There is much talk these days about diversity and the need for more stories to include the mix of characters that is todays reality. We’ve noticed several Kirkus reviews lately actually mentioning “the little white girl” as description in their reviews which has seemed a bit odd to be honest. Why does it matter in a review what ‘color’ (particularly if ‘white’) the main characters are, unless it’s the point of the book, or the review? But this review mentions instead how the “medium-brown skin” brings a “downright refreshing discovery” to the story when the text does NOT make diversity the point of the story. This IS worth mentioning, and we’re so glad they did.
Subject: Kirkus Reviews Clipping – Catch A Kiss
CATCH A KISS Author: Deborah Diesen Illustrator: Kris Aro McLeod
Issue Date: April 1, 2016 Online Publish Date: March 16, 2016 Mama and Izzie play at blowing kisses in the garden. Mama’s first kiss, a “tiny, round” one, alights on the tip of Izzie’s nose. Izzie catches the second, a “zigzag” one, in the crook of her elbow. But when Mama sends a triple-decker, Izzie’s able to catch only the first two, distressing the little girl. She jumps and flaps to no avail. Mama holds her daughter close to comfort her; she points “to a tiny sparkle high in the sky” that drifts down “in a shimmery glitter.” It’s just as Mama says: “Mama-kisses ALWAYS come find you.” As stories go, this is a slight but sweet one, a candy-floss variation on zillions of others. But McLeod’s delicate, fine-lined watercolors elevate it in depicting its loving mother-daughter pair with medium-brown skin, brown eyes, and ebullient brown curls (Izzie’s a little bit more unruly than her mama’s). Though nothing in the text points to specific ethnicity, in a sea of mother-love books featuring either white characters or cute, fuzzy animals, this twosome is a downright refreshing discovery. Broad-leaved plants and waving tendrils give their garden almost an underwater look; Izzie’s shift appears to be made of the same pink fabric as her mother’s blouse. McLeod never depicts the errant kiss, leaving both Izzie and readers to imagine it as they will. A sweet mother-daughter idyll that provides a mirror for any number of brown-skinned readers. (Picture book. 3-6)
CONGRATULATIONS KRIS…. wonderful, sensitive, beautiful job with these illustrations!