Reviews have started coming in for my next picture book with Corinna Luyken, Something Good!
The toughest moment in this classroom story by the previous collaborators (Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse) comes when the narrator beholds the “bad-something” on the wall of the girls’ bathroom. She and her friends have been wondering how bad it could really be, and when they see it, “Tanisha turned around and ran out. Kiyoko kicked a stall really hard, and the sound made us cover our ears.” After the children react with a range of emotions—“No one felt nothing,” Campbell writes—the school focuses on efforts at healing by making “something good.” The adults appeal to the students as a body, giving them each ribbons in the school’s colors “to remember who we are.” Then a teacher brings all his students into the defaced bathroom (“We were all in this together”), where the ethnically inclusive group paints a big, beautiful mural over the bad-something, rendered by Luyken in a boldly saturated riot of florals and dragons. A valuable resource that might serve to equip classrooms for crisis. An author’s note describes the book’s origins. Ages 4–8. Agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Sept.)