LETTERS TO LIVE BY

  • by

As the text remarks, we all “have the power to make our world a better, happier place.” Each lettered page introduces a different ethical principle in the form of a pithy alliterative imperative: “APPRECIATE ART”; “BECOME BRAVE”; “CHOOSE COMPASSION”; and so forth. The artwork portrays children engaged in simple acts and activities that are practical, relatable examples of each principle or ideal; for example, children can “INVITE IMAGINATION” by cloud-gazing on a sunny day, “VALUE VOLUNTEERING” by helping to clean up a park, and “JOIN FOR JUSTICE” by attending a street protest. A few of these visual object lessons are a bit vague or confusing; for instance, the text advises young readers to “RESIST RUMORS,” but the children pictured in the artwork are actually spreading them. Gilland’s digital illustrations, rendered using a palette dominated by pink and green, are serviceable, if unexciting. They are also inclusive, depicting kids with a variety of skin tones and hair textures, a Black girl wearing a hijab, a White girl using a wheelchair, interracial parents, and same-sex parents. The book ends by telling kids to “Z’S THE DAY,” but this pun may likely fly over the heads of the target audience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *