A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Teaches kids the social-emotional lesson that they can write their own life story.
Your lived experience doesn't have to fit in a box. Your story is still being written. Your story is beautiful.
Positive Role Models
The children in the story are representations of people who follow their own path in life. They show that kids can ignore societal expectations and become who they want to become.
The children illustrated represent a variety of ethnic backgrounds (Black, White, Asian, Latino) and lived experiences.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Patchwork is a beautiful and powerful picture book written in verse by Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and illustrated by New York Times bestselling illustrator Corinna Luyken. It takes a deep message -- your story is still being written -- and portrays it in a simple way for young readers. Because it's written in verse, kids may need some help understanding the meaning of some of the text. For example, it describes the pain a sensitive young boy feels as he's unable to express his emotions: "But sometimes your paintbrush at school / hovers above the pink. / Some days so much hurt floods your eyes, / you're scared to even blink. / But tears are not pink or blue or weak -- they're human. / You are human." Abstract ideas like this make the book relevant and appropriate for older kids and teens as well. The book is also available in Spanish under the title Retazos.
Is It Any Good?
This unassuming picture book comes with a powerful message. Patchwork reads like a poem and provides an important life lesson that's best taught when kids are young: There's no one-size-fits-all, and our life stories are full of possibility. Corinna Luyken's simple illustrations and pastel color choices bolster the message but also portray the feelings and emotions described in the book. Because it's written in verse, and because the theme is sophisticated, it may be difficult for young readers to fully comprehend. However, it also has the potential to instill a love of poetry from an early age.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.