My three year old is fascinated by Joel Harper’s All the Way to the Ocean. He asked me to read it to him three times in the Kidspace gift shop — and the Kidspace gift shop is full of toys. Usually he won’t sit through ANY book in a gift shop, even if it’s a book he ends up loving at home.
The text is long, and it’s not as smooth and tight as most of the best selling children’s books out there. That doesn’t seem to matter to my kid, though. He’s riveted.
I like it because it talks about real problems and real things kids can do about them. Reading it together feels serious and empowering. I also like it because it has a black character who isn’t black to serve some narrative purpose — he’s just black because some people are black. He’s the expert kid in this book. We need a lot more children’s books like this. I hope the author keeps publishing. We’ll keep keep buying if he does.