Parents' Guide to

Blue Sky White Stars

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Stirring, poetic take on America and flag has majestic art.

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Poetic text and stunning art make this a flag-waving book with a difference, inviting readers to celebrate America's patriotic symbols and think about its rich, multicultural history. The text in Blue Sky White Stars is more expressive than informational, with author Sarvinder Naberhaus repeating short phrases such as "Blue sky white stars," "Old Glory," and "Woven together." She also includes phrases that sound alike but have different meanings -- for instance, "Sew together/Won nation" (Betsy Ross sewing flag) and "So together/One nation" (faces of various races). The spare text makes the book perfect for young kids, but older kids will enjoy thinking about the plays on words.

There could be no better illustrator for this project than Kadir Nelson, who pictures an inclusive, multiracial America and whose paintings of American faces, symbols, and landscapes are breathtaking and arresting. His choice of subject is always thought-provoking. In one spread, "All American," he presents an image of a brightly lit baseball stadium next to an image of an older African American man listening to the game on the radio with his grandson. Though Nelson's art captures the majesty of our multihued nation and the varied faces of its people, the omission of direct reference to Native Americans is glaring.

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