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Starred review booklist

 A star-spangled entry, brilliantly illustrated by a national treasure. Highly recommended.

Spare words meet striking artwork in this celebration of America. Naberhaus, who came to the U.S. from Punjab at age four, expresses the depth of feeling for her country in minimalist yet powerful phrases that also describe elements of the American flag. The words “Blue Sky / White Stars” are placed over a starry night with the Statue of Liberty reflected in the water below. The facing full-bleed page shows the white stars of the flag against its sky-blue background. Sometimes the words have literal images, such as a row of trees in autumnal red matched with the red and white stripes; other times, the associations are more subtle, as when a tattered flag is as “well-worn” as the up-close visage of Abraham Lincoln. Occasionally, there is wordplay: “sea waves” meets “see waves,” as Old Glory whips in the wind. Each of Nelson’s superb, often photo-realistic images capture the spirit and diversity of the United States, weaving together its people and symbols. Though ostensibly a picture book for younger children, this has the ability to reach a much broader audience, and spark discussion of hopes and fears. It’s hard to imagine a book better suited to this time.

HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Nelson is one of the preeminent kid-lit illustrators working today, and promotion will help this book, in particular, find its many readers.

— Ilene Cooper

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