Author: Tameka Fryer Brown
Illustrator: Charlotte Riley-Webb
Publisher: New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2010
Genre: Picture book, fiction
Audience Age: 4 to 8
Themes/Topics: Neighbors, diversity, sharing food, friendship
Opening Sentences: Blue sky, no clouds, Summer heat, side street, Whirling, whizzing feet. Everyone is out to play Today, around our way.
Synopsis: The delightful rhythmic text of this picture book makes me want to dance, and the vividly colored illustrations make me want to smile back at all the people who are enjoying a block party around the child narrator’s way on Neighbors’ Day.
The text follows the full day in the neighborhood, narrated by a young African American girl who introduces us to all the many people who make up her community within the city: children, adults, older adults. We see kids playing, men arguing in a friendly way in the barbershop, the narrator’s dad helping someone, two elderly men playing chess while big boys shoot hoops. Then as evening approaches, everyone joins together with a magnificent feast “with the food we love to eat: Tante Elise’s gumbo, Mr. Junior’s oxtail stew, Ms. Consuelo’s rice and beans, Granny’s spicy collard greens, Momma’s mac and cheese, and Grilled lime chicken from Ms. Fu.”
It’s a wonderful rainbow of people, food, dance, and joy. I happily recommend this book.
Activities/Resources: Some activities grow naturally out of the text and illustrations of the book – try some of the games the kids are playing; make one of the delicious-sounding foods for dinner; listen to some of the kinds of music mentioned, and dance!
Check out the book trailer and a vivid description of the book at the author’s website. AND there’s an exciting announcement from January of this year on her website as well: Around Our Way on Neighbors’ Day has been chosen by LittleFreeLibrary.org as one of their Action Book Club selections. Read what this means here.
There’s a Facebook Page for this book here.
Availability: Find it in an independent bookstore near you through IndieBound.