The World Belonged to Us

by Jacqueline Woodson (Author) Leo Espinosa (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Two children's book superstars join forces to celebrate the joy and freedom of summer in the city, which is gloriously captured in Jacqueline Woodson's rhythmic text and Leo Espinosa's lively art.

It's getting hot outside, hot enough to turn on the hydrants and run through the water--and that means it's finally summer in the city! Released from school and reveling in their freedom, the kids on one Brooklyn block take advantage of everything summertime has to offer. Freedom from morning till night to go out to meet their friends and make the streets their playground--jumping double Dutch, playing tag and hide-and-seek, building forts, chasing ice cream trucks, and best of all, believing anything is possible. That is, till their moms call them home for dinner. But not to worry--they know there is always tomorrow to do it all over again--because the block belongs to them and they rule their world.

Find books about:

Publisher's Weekly

Starred Review

Written from within a community of friends, in a voice that often uses "we," lilting, intimate-feeling lines by Woodson (The Year We Learned to Fly) capture a delicious sense of autonomy and possibility shared "In Brooklyn/ in the summer/ not so long ago," when "the minute/ school ended, us kids were free as air." Pencil and digital art centers blue skies and city landscapes as Espinosa (The Creature of Habit) draws children of varying ages and skin tones bursting from the doors of a school, with 1970s clothing details that are right on the mark. In the hot days that follow, the kids crowd sidewalks and stoops, open hydrants, and play street games with chalk and bottle caps. They also engage in camaraderie and community care, comforting each other after scrapes, noticing each other’s gifts ("We said, You sure can draw... and we meant it"), and sharing an ice cream truck’s bounty, "because some days the ones with no money/ were us." And in this Brooklyn nabe, the kids dream big, because "anything was possible/ when a guy from our block was good enough/ to play for the Mets." Affirming the strengths of shared experiences and power drawn from collective appreciation, the creators show how a childhood can engender joy that follows "everywhere I’d ever go." Ages 5-8. 

Copyright 2022 Publisher’s Weekly, LLC Used with permission.


Starred Review
 A dream team of talent show and tell a delightful story of summers gone by. (Picture book. 4-8).
Jacqueline Woodson
Jacqueline Woodson ( recibió la Beca MacArthur 2020, el Premio Hans Christian Andersen 2020, el Premio Astrid Lindgren Memorial 2018 y el Premio Children's Literature Legacy 2018, y fue la embajadora nacional de la literatura juvenil 2018-2019. Su libro de memorias, Brown Girl Dreaming, best seller del New York Times, ganó el Premio National Book, el Premio Coretta Scott King, un Premio de honor Newbery y un Premio NAACP Image. Entre sus libros para niños se encuentran: Before the Ever After, ganador del Premio Coretta Scott King, The Day You Begin y Harbor Me, best sellers del New York Times, y los ganadores del Premio de honor Newbery, Feathers, Show Way, After Tupac and D Foster, y Each Kindness, que ganó el Premio Jane Addams Children's Book.

Rafael López ( ilustró los best sellers del New York Times The Day You Begin (de Jacqueline Woodson) y Just Ask! (de la jueza del Tribunal Supremo de los Estados Unidos Sonia Sotomayor). Ganó la medalla Pura Belpré por Drum Dream Girl y Book Fiesta, y también ha recibido tres premios de honor Pura Belpré, dos premios Américas Book, el Premio Tomás Rivera Children's Book 2017 y la medalla de plata de la Sociedad de Ilustradores. Su trabajo ha aparecido en Communication Arts, American Illustration Annual, Graphic Design USA y HuffPost. Es uno de los fundadores del movimiento Urban Art Trail de San Diego, ha creado siete sellos de correos de Estados Unidos y creó carteles oficiales para las campañas de Obama-Biden en 2008 y 2012.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
May 20, 2022

Subscribe to our delicious e-newsletter!