Starred Publishers Weekly review for Everything Naomi Loved Katie Yamasaki and Ian Lendler, illus. by Katie Yamasaki
Aug 28, 2020
Naomi, a tan-skinned girl with brown hair, loves her busy, vibrant block, with its “honking, blaring, booming cars,/ and the corner bodega.” One morning, she discovers that the sidewalk tree in whose shade she and her friend Ada, a Black girl, play has been cut down. “They’re building something new,” says Naomi’s mom. “Something fancy,” says her dad. Mister Ray from the auto body shop helps Naomi mourn: “Where I grew up/ when something we love goes away/ we paint it on the wall/ so it’s always with us,” he says. He renders her beloved tree on the building’s side, and, when Ada’s building is scheduled for demolition and her family must move away, they paint Ada there, too. Yamasaki and Lendler convey the loss of a living, breathing community beset by gentrification. Muralist Yamasaki paints in a distinctive folk-art style crowded with pigeons, ribbons of music, and an inclusive array of city dwellers. Together with Lendler, she champions the power of ordinary people to preserve what’s lost through art. Ages 6–8.