Woodson’s newest picture book is a latchkey kid’s love letter to a Brooklyn of yore. She tells of summers in the ’70s when, with all the grownups working, the kids were “…free as air. Free as sun. Free as summer,” and the city streets belonged to them. With colorful, nostalgic illustrations, this groovy tale is a perfect introduction to daily life for kids of a past generation.
— Molly S.
Two children’s book superstars—#1 New York Times bestseller Jacqueline Woodson, the author of The Day You Begin, and Leo Espinosa, the illustrator of Islandborn—join forces to celebrate the joy and freedom of summer in the city, which is gloriously captured in their rhythmic text and lively art.
It's getting hot outside, hot enough to turn on the hydrants and run through the water--and that means it's finally summer in the city! Released from school and reveling in their freedom, the kids on one Brooklyn block take advantage of everything summertime has to offer. Freedom from morning till night to go out to meet their friends and make the streets their playground--jumping double Dutch, playing tag and hide-and-seek, building forts, chasing ice cream trucks, and best of all, believing anything is possible. That is, till their moms call them home for dinner. But not to worry--they know there is always tomorrow to do it all over again--because the block belongs to them and they rule their world.
(This book is also available in Spanish, as El mundo era nuestro!)
About the Author
Jacqueline Woodson is the recipient of a 2020 MacArthur Fellowship, the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award, the 2018 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and the 2018 Children’s Literature Legacy Award. She is the 2022 Kennedy Center Education Artist-in-Residence, and was the 2018–2019 National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. Her New York Times bestselling memoir, Brown Girl Dreaming, won the National Book Award, as well as the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor, and an NAACP Image Award. She also wrote the adult books Red at the Bone, a New York Times bestseller, and Another Brooklyn, a National Book Award finalist. Her dozens of books for young readers include Coretta Scott King Award and NAACP Image Award winner Before the Ever After, New York Times bestsellers The Day You Begin and Harbor Me, Newbery Honor winners Feathers, Show Way, and After Tupac and D Foster, and the picture book Each Kindness, which won the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.
Leo Espinosa is a New York Times bestselling illustrator and designer from Bogotá, Colombia. His picture books include Islandborn (by Junot Diaz), for which he was awarded a Pura Belpre Illustrator Honor, No More Naps (by Chris Grabenstein), and Goldfish on Vacation (by Sally Lloyd-Jones). His award-winning illustrations have been recognized by American Illustration, Communication Arts, Pictoplasma, 3x3, and the Society of Illustrators (Gold and Silver Medals). In addition, he has given multiple lectures and workshops at schools and institutions such as Parsons School of Design and Pratt Institute, as well as serving on the faculty of the Rhode Island School of Design.
* "Lilting, intimate-feeling lines by Woodson capture a delicious sense of autonomy and possibility shared 'In Brooklyn/ in the summer/ not so long ago,' when 'the minute/ school ended, us kids were free as air.' Pencil and digital art centers blue skies and city landscapes as Espinosa draws children of varying ages and skin tones bursting from the doors of a school, with 1970s clothing details that are right on the mark. . . . They also engage in camaraderie and community care, comforting each other after scrapes, noticing each other’s gifts, and sharing an ice cream truck’s bounty. . . . Affirming the strengths of shared experiences and power drawn from collective appreciation, the creators show how a childhood can engender joy that follows 'everywhere I’d ever go.'” --Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "This nostalgic homage to Woodson’s childhood in her beloved Brooklyn evokes the senses: the sounds of laughter and double Dutch rhymes, the sight of sidewalk chalk and bottle cap games, and the taste of an ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles from the ice cream truck. . . . The amazing diversity of the neighborhood comes through both in Espinosa’s lively, colorful retro illustrations, which depict Black, brown, and White children, and Woodson’s lyrical text, which describes kids calling 'out to each other / in Spanish / in English / in Polish / in German / in Chinese.' . . . Espinosa depicts many characters with mouths wide open, emphasizing their unbridled delight and loudness. Author and illustrator offer a refreshing reminder of a pre-internet time when full-immersion play was the summer activity and kids took full advantage. A dream team of talent show and tell a delightful story of summers gone by." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* “In this joyful and nostalgic celebration of young Black girlhood, multi-award-winning author Woodson remembers fondly how, not so long ago in Brooklyn, when school ended for the summer, the neighborhood kids headed outdoors to play, “free as air, free as sun.” . . . Brightly colored illustrations jam-packed with joyful details fill every page in this positive endorsement of unstructured play. At the end, readers can join in dreaming along with the child who now sits on her front stoop, excited about the many tomorrows to come—not just in Brooklyn, not just for the summer, but everywhere and always.” —Booklist, starred review
“Focuses on that magical transition from last day of school to first days of summer vacation and lures listeners to scamper back and forth . . . over a multigenerational bridge of contrasting and shared experience. . . . The details rendered in Espinosa’s cheerfully busy scenes are tiny invitations to the contemporary audience to talk about how very different/just the same things are now.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books