A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Shows what life and summertime were like for some kids on the streets of Brooklyn in the 1970s.
Inner-city culture is special. Simplicity leads to creativity. Boys do cry. Anything is possible. Teamwork makes the dream work.
Positive Role Models
The kids in the neighborhood are supportive of one another. "And some days we scraped our knees. But there was always an older kid nearby who'd say, It's gonna be all right, and might even tell us stories about being our age…" The kids are seen working and playing together, high-fiving, and complimenting each other.
The book honors inner-city culture, and most characters are Black or Brown. The children of the city reflect various ages, and genders and it can be inferred that they speak various languages. "So we called out to each other in Spanish, in English, in Polish, in German, in Chinese, and we ruled the block in all of our languages…"
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that The World Belonged to Us is an ode to the joy of summer "not so long ago" experienced by children in Brooklyn, New York. Written by Newbery Medal winning author Jacqueline Woodson and illustrated by Pura Belpre Honoree Leo Espinosa, the book celebrates the freedom and activity kids enjoyed in a much simpler time. The lively illustrations depict life in the 1970s, from the bellbottoms and roller skates to afros and pigtails, from old-fashioned cars to games like cat's cradle. The rhythm of the text is sometimes conveyed in uniquely structured verses, and the key words "In Brooklyn in the summer not so long ago" are repeated throughout. Young readers will be hooked by the book's lively energy, and parents and grandparents will enjoy the nostalgia of life "back in the day." A Spanish language edition is availble: El mundo era nuetsro.
Is It Any Good?
This collaboration between powerhouse author Jacqueline Woodson and compelling illustrator Leo Espinosa is not just a fun read, but an experience to connect the generations. The World Belonged to Us is the book version of older adults telling kids about how life was in the good old days. What makes it even more special is the social commentary that celebrates the beauty of life in the inner city -- a story not often told -- while honoring the joy of childhood.
The text and illustrations convey the kids' shared feeling that the world belonged to them. Readers will feel that it was a truly magical time to be a kid, filled with possibility about what the future -- or even just tomorrow -- would bring.
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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.
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