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The King of Kindergarten
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A confident little boy takes pride in his first day of kindergarten, by the Newbery Honor-winning author of Crown.

About the Author

Derrick Barnes wrote the critically acclaimed picture book Crown- An Ode to the Fresh Cut, which received a Newbery Honor, a Coretta Scott King Honor, and the 2018 Ezra Jack Keats Award. He also wrote the bestselling chapter book series Ruby and the Booker Boys. He owns the copy-writing company Say Word Creative Communications and created the popular blog Raising the Mighty, where he "chronicles the experience of bringing up four beautiful Black boys in America." He lives in Charlotte, North Carolina, with his wife and their four sons.

Vanessa Brantley-Newton has illustrated numerous picture books, including The Girl Who Heard Colors (by Marie Harris), Mary Had a Little Glam (by Tammi Sauer), One Love (by Cedella Marley), A Night Out with Mama (by Quvenzhane Wallis), and The Youngest Marcher (by Cynthia Levinson), as well as the chapter book series Ruby and the Booker Boys (by Derrick Barnes) and Jada Jones (by Kelly Starling Lyons). She wrote and illustrated Let Freedom Sing and Grandma's Purse. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Reviews

* "It's the first day of kindergarten, and our protagonist is ready. . . . Describes in confident, loving, sometimes humorous terms what that day will be like. . . . Buoyant prose. . . . A beamingly positive intro to a new experience that gives youngsters a great framing for their best behavior; the winking touch to the grandiloquence keeps it from being sentimental and instead makes it jubilant, affectionately jokey cheerleading. Line and digital artwork provides lively, playful background textures and details. . . . There are plenty of reassuring books about starting kindergarten, but this delightfully moves beyond 'It will be okay and you might even like it' to a straight out 'You will crush this!'"--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review * "When a mother gives her son the titular nickname, it inspires him throughout his first day of school. . . . Affirming text and energizing drawings . . . which skillfully balance bright colors, patterns, and textures, should put a spring in the step of any reluctant kindergartner: who wouldn't want to be thought of as 'the charming, the wonderful and the kind' class sovereign?"--Publishers Weekly, starred review * "The playful illustrations use texture and shadow to great effect, with vibrant colors and dynamic shapes and lines sustaining readers' interest on every page. Text and visuals work together beautifully to generate excitement and confidence in children getting ready to enter kindergarten. The little king's smiling brown face is refreshing and heartwarming. . . . Necessary nourishment, infectiously joyous."--Kirkus Reviews, starred review * "Joyful and empowering. . . . With the introduction of each part of this brand new day comes the assurance that nothing is too difficult for the King of Kindergarten. The vibrant and cheerful hand-drawn and digital illustrations feature a diverse classroom of children all helping one another. . . . Lots of emphasis on being a kind and brave classmate and ruler. . . . This marvelous story will give each reader an opportunity to see themselves as 'the charming, the wonderful, and the kind King of Kindergarten.' Perfect for storytime or one-on-one readings, this book is an absolute first purchase."--School Library Journal, starred review "Upbeat picture book. . . . Includes important milestones such as making friends, sharing, playing together, and going through the school day without any major issues, and Brantley-Newton adds clever imaginative details to these familiar scenes. The illustrations' bright colors reflect the book's positive tone as it conveys the joys of growing up, starting school, and learning school routines. This will make an excellent addition to early childhood classrooms, or as a tool to help future kindergarteners understand what a typical school day can look like. Best of all, this story is free of disasters and jitters, making it an affirming choice for children in need of a confidence boost."--Booklist

"Barnes's direct-address text is lighthearted and reassuring, with its offstage narrator speaking directly to this imaginary-crown-wearing child--and to all rising kindergartners, first-day jitters or no. Brantley-Newton's cartoony mixed-media illustrations, hand-drawn and digitally colored, are bursting with color, pattern, and texture, with the brown-skinned protagonist surrounded by warmth (a smiley-faced sun that watches over him) and comfort (a cozy-looking patchwork quilt, stuffies, and finger-painted pictures in his bedroom; a school population of cheerful, brighteyed children of various ethnicities--and even the class fish is smiling!)."--The Horn Book

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