What Will You Be?
by Mendez, Yamile Saied; Alizadeh, Kate (ILT)

The acclaimed author of Where Are You From? presents a stunning second picture book of self-discovery that finds a young girl and her abuela celebrating the endless possibilities that life has to offer the girl as she grows. Illustrations.

When a brown-skinned young girl's friends ask what she'll be when she grows up, her responses are fanciful: astronaut, unicorn, and clown, and her friends reply, "What will you really be?" For guidance, she looks to her abuela, who encourages her to listen to her heart. The subsequent pages reveal her growing, grounded inspiration in warm, evocatively illustrated spreads. Looking at nearby homes, she considers being a builder; a fruit tree brings thoughts of being a farmer, "planting wonder and change." Maybe she'll teach, or she'll create art, like Abuela. However, one thing's certain: "When I grow up . . . I will be me." Vibrant, charming artwork interweaves imaginative scenes with realistic scenarios, and throughout, bright strokes of color swirl across the scenes as the possibilities occur to her. While the girl's lyrical narrative can read as older ("I will be an explorer of the lands where my roots were born"), this is nevertheless a thought-provoking and reassuring take on the "what will I be when I grow up" genre of picture book, with lots of read-aloud appeal. Grades K-3. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Guided by Abuela, a young child discovers their potential. "No, what will you really be?" a group of friends ask the young narrator in response to their imagining a future as an astronaut, a unicorn, or a clown. Without an answer, the child seeks the help of Abuela, who has been everything "under the Sun and the Moon." Encouraged by Abuela to listen to their heart, the child quiets down and pays attention until the answers come. The pair then embarks on an exercise of the imagination as the child envisions becoming a builder of homes, a writer and painter of dreams, an explorer of their roots, a farmer of wonder and change, a healer of broken hearts, a student, and a teacher. Abuela accompanies her grandchild on this journey, standing or sitting nearby, at times even lifting up the child. Alizadeh's scratchy illustrations show the loving relationship between grandmother and grandchild, both depicted as people of color. The beginning endpapers illustrate the studio walls as a blank canvas with limitless opportunities, the back endpapers show those opportunities fulfilled with splashes of color depicting all the things the young narrator can be. Méndez and Alizadeh create a balance between the abstract and concrete by letting the child imagine the future but with Abuela's guidance and support. (This book was reviewed digitally with 8.5-by-20-inch double-page spreads viewed at 52.1% of actual size.) A sweet read to share with loved ones. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus 2021 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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