Why Am I Me?
Somewhere in a city, people are homeward bound at day's end. Surrounded by kids and adults of diverse backgrounds--distinguishable by skin color, hair, head coverings and more--two children in a subway car muse about who they are and who the other might be as the subway whooshes by playing fields, neighborhoods and an open amphitheater. The children eventually alight under the same starry sky, and greet each other with "hi...," serendipitously turning "me" to the promise of we.
Author Paige Britt alchemizes the "big questions [she's been asking] since she was a small child" to create her debut picture book, encouraging soul-searching dialogues with oneself and others. Husband-and-wife artists Sean Qualls and Selina Alko (The Case for Loving) enhance the profundity of Britt's prose with amplifying small details. For example, newsprint is used as window shades or building facades, subtly and brilliantly reminding readers how stories can be found behind every window, every door, every wall; the sometimes-legible newspaper type points to a larger world beyond, including Great Britain, Italy, even Gaza. On every spread, the ingenious duo depicts America's multicultural citizens, ensuring myopic xenophobia has no place on Britt's welcoming, hopeful pages. --Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon