Southwest sunrise

Nikki Grimes

Book - 2020

Jayden expects to see nothing but brown his first morning in New Mexico, but after being surprised by colorful rocks, flowers, birds, and animals, he wonders if this place could become home.

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Children's Room jE/Grimes Checked In
Picture books
New York : Bloomsbury Children's Books 2020.
Main Author
Nikki Grimes (author)
Other Authors
Wendell Minor (illustrator)
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 27 cm
Ages 3-6.
Grades K-1.
Winner ALA Children's Literature Legacy Award, Nikki Grimes.
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

Young Jayden is less than enthusiastic about moving from New York City to the rural Southwest. "What's so great about New Mexico?" he pouts. The next morning he takes a walk, discovering brightly colored flowers in his yard, a pink adobe house, magpie-filled piñon trees, wide turquoise skies, a skittering lizard, and red rock pillars that seem to hold up the sky. Grimes' lyrical prose captures the sights and sounds of the land of enchantment, allowing Jayden the opportunity to fully appreciate his new surroundings. Minor's frame-worthy illustrations, rendered in gouache watercolor, depict this family as African American and showcase New Mexico's magnificent landscapes. His attention to local flora and fauna is especially noteworthy. Interior details (a portrait of the Statue of Liberty hanging over Jayden's bed, ropes of red chili peppers in the kitchen, and local pottery) add to the story's appeal, as do the endpapers (New York City in the front, a New Mexico vista at the end). Upbeat, eye-catching, and guaranteed to convince even reluctant newcomers to New Mexicans.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

The boy of color who stars in this story begins sitting in a plane seat with his arms crossed and a baseball cap over his eyes. Jayden is moving from New York to New Mexico, and he's not happy about it. But on his first morning there, he sees "a mountain/ striped in rainbow" out of his bedroom window: "Hey! Who put that there?" As he starts to explore, exquisitely drafted spreads by Minor (Hi, I'm Norman) alternate between close-ups--desert wildflowers, birds, a tiny lizard--and sweeping, light-filled desert landscapes. The boy's resentment begins to thaw: "Where was all this sky in New York City?" Lyrical lines by Grimes (Bedtime for Sweet Creatures) combine poetry (a flower called a wine-cup "spilling its burgundy beauty/ for me to drink up") with exclamations: about red rock pillars, "Daddy should've told me/ this new place has/ its own skyscrapers!" The boy's experience is touched with remarkable wonder and freedom; he walks alone with a guidebook to nature, musing about everything he finds. Grimes and Minor show what braving unexpected change looks like and introduce the idea of making friends with a distinctive landscape. Ages 3--6. (May)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3--Moving is never easy, but it's particularly tough for Jayden, a child moving from New York City to a desert home in New Mexico. Jayden's transition from sullen to surprised, irritated to intrigued, is evident in his observant, lyrical narration. Initially he's convinced that "browns and tans are the only colors deserts are good for." Once he steps outside, however, he spies colorful "fancy-named flowers" like the winecup and yellow bells that he identifies using the field guide given to him by his mother. As he walks, he continues to spot more interesting plants and animals--hanging red chili peppers, black tips on magpie wings, and a kingly raven, so similar to the city's crows. Though Jayden will likely continue to miss his old home, readers can feel confident that he'll find new pleasures and treasures in his new one. Soft lines and gentle colors of gouache illustrations allow readers to share in Jayden's discoveries. VERDICT A useful purchase for libraries. This evocative and engaging title can be read on several levels.--Maria B. Salvadore, formerly at District of Columbia Public Library

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Horn Book Review

Protagonist Jayden is unhappy about his family's move from New York City, with its skyscrapers and "feeling of wow," to the New Mexico desert, land of shadows, lizards, and endless sky. During the flight west, Jayden pouts and tries not to cry. But despite his attitude, he can't suppress his wonder upon arrival. Near his family's new home, he notices an array of colorful flowers, a chatty magpie, rock formations with rainbow colors, and tall "red rock pillars / holding up the sky" that remind him of the New York skyline. Minor's gouache watercolor illustrations, featuring an African American family, capture the expansive topography, the surprising desert palette, and Jayden's growing appreciation for his surroundings. His gruff expression becomes inquisitive, respectful, and finally joyous as he discovers flowers, butterflies, bleached animal bones, and more. The lyrical quality of Grimes's poetry gets richer as Jayden begins to embrace his new home. He even finds a small gift to bring to his mother, while he also presents her with his first smile since leaving the city. Moving is never easy, but Jayden's experience of focusing on the beauty before him rather than on what he has left behind is an endearing example of making the best of a new situation. Michelle H. Martin May/June 2020 p.98(c) Copyright 2020. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

A young black child reluctantly moves from New York City to New Mexico. The young protagonist is not excited about leaving New York City and "the feeling of wow / craning my neck to study / the tops of skyscrapers" to move to New Mexico, where everything will be "browns and tans / …the only colors / deserts are good for" (a questionable choice of words). But on this first morning in New Mexico, the grumpy kid is gifted with a series of nature-based surprises. First, a mountain unnoticed the night before is waiting outside the "barless window." Here and throughout the book, Minor's lovely art captures the beauty of the Southwestern United States in gouache watercolors--in this case presenting a picturesque scene perfectly captured in a window frame surrounded by white space that makes the view all the more arresting. With the help of a field guide, the young protagonist sets off on a nature walk that reveals colorful flowers, birds, lizards, vistas, and more, all described with Grimes' signature poetic lyricism and vividly depicted in Minor's gorgeous illustrations. By the end of the walk, the intrepid budding naturalist is ready to give this beautiful new home a try. How glorious: a story about a black child experiencing the outdoors that is beautiful in every way. (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.