From debut author Antwan Eady and artist Gracey Zhang comes a glowing tale about the young dreaming big. A perfect story to demonstrate how pride in where we come from can bring a shining confidence.
When Nigel looks up at the moon, his future is bright. He imagines himself as...an astronaut, a dancer, a superhero, too! Among the stars, he twirls. With pride, his chest swells. And his eyes, they glow. Nigel is the most brilliant body in the sky. But it's Career Week at school, and Nigel can't find the courage to share his dreams. It's easy to whisper them to the moon, but not to his classmates--especially when he already feels out of place.
PreS-Gr 3–Nigel shares his dreams with the moon: to be an astronaut, a dancer, and a superhero. In the harsh light of day, Nigel shrinks into himself. During career week, he is too afraid of his classmates’ reactions to share his aspirations or the fact that his parents do not have “fancy jobs.” Nigel’s parents are the true superheroes of this story. They are entirely accepting and supportive of Nigel and his dreams. Speaking to his class, they highlight the value of their jobs, but also proclaim parenting Nigel to be “the best job we’ve ever had.” This unwavering public support finally gives Nigel the courage to share his true self. This story radiates a quiet power. Poetic language paired with bold brushstrokes and saturated colors reveals the magic of the night sky. The juxtaposition of the prosaic daytime scenes, often set against a stark white background, exemplifies the difference between Nigel’s nighttime and daytime selves. Nigel is the only child with dark brown skin in his class. While a connection between his race and his anxious isolation is never made explicit in the text, the illustrations suggest a link. Nigel is frustrated that “a dancer like him cannot be found,” while looking at a library book featuring one of Degas’s dancers, his arm across the page a contrast to the dancer’s pale form. The true beauty of this book is the potential breadth of connection. Nigel’s worried face by day and his freedom by night will allow numerous readers to empathize and connect their own varied experiences of anxiety and ostracization. Caretakers should be inspired by the recognition that nothing is more empowering to children than loving adults telling them to “dream big” and “be proud of who you are.”VERDICT This stirring tale of self-acceptance and parental support is recommended for first purchase. --Elizabeth Lovsin, Deerfield P. L., IL
Copyright 2021 School Library Journal, LLC, Used with permission
Black boy named Nigel shares his aspirations—to be an astronaut, a dancer, a superhero—with the moon each night but struggles with whether to share his closely held wishes Earth-side. During his class’s career week, he can’t find a ballerino who resembles him in any of the library’s books, and when he shadows his postal carrier mother “house after house, block after block,” the moon feels far away. Worried that he’s wishing for too much, and aware that his parents “don’t have fancy jobs” like those of his largely pink-skinned classmates’ parents, Nigel avoids offering up his hopes publicly. But when his folks stop by to speak about their professions, delighting his classmates and mentioning “the best job we’ve ever had,” Nigel finds courage to move beyond comparison. Hitting notes of hope, fear, love, and pride while subtly tackling themes of class, gender expectations, and race, Eady’s debut is matched beat for layered beat by Zhang’s (Lala’s Words) fluid ink, gouache, and watercolor illustrations, which depict Nigel as small but trusting against a looming, ponderous moon. A loving exhortation to “Dream big... And be proud of who you are.” Ages 4–8.
Copyright 2021 Publisher's Weekly LLC, Used with permission