Reviews for I Walk with Vanessa: A Story about a Simple Act of Kindness

by Kerascoet

School Library Journal
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

PreS-Gr 3-A picture book without words, but with images that speak volumes. This story, inspired by true events, follows Vanessa along her journey as the new kid in school. Like most new students, she feels nervous and even unwelcome at first, and she is treated unkindly on her walk home. Another child notices the bullying and decides to befriend Vanessa the very next day. What happens next is unexpected and quite beautiful as the whole school comes together to stand by Vanessa and show how a small act of kindness can unite an entire community. Created by a husband-and-wife team of illustrators who are known for their work on the critically acclaimed graphic novel Beautiful Darkness and most recently the picture book Malala's Magic Pencil, KerascoŽt's latest book is powerful in its simplicity. The illustrations explore the various feelings of hurt, powerlessness, and anger that arise when being bullied or witnessing bullying, and the many positive feelings that accompany acts of acceptance and inclusion. A special afterword with advice for children and adults on how to help those who may be bullied or hurt is appended. The message is powerful: one small act can make a difference and change the world. VERDICT A simple, beautiful story with an empowering lesson and call to action. Recommended for every library.-Elizabeth Blake, Brooklyn Public Library © Copyright 2017. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

In this wordless story, a dark-skinned girl (Vanessa) arrives in class and is shown a seat. She spends most of her day alone, but after school, a blond boy approaches, yelling and provoking tears. Another girl observes this interaction and becomes upset. The next morning, she stops at Vanessa's house to accompany her to school. As they walk along, other children join them, and everyone arrives at school as a cohesive group, minus the now isolated bully. French duo Marie Pommepuy and Sťbastien Cosset (Paul and Antoinette, 2016), aka KerascoŽt, here share a story that demonstrates how simple acts of kindness can turn a bullying situation around. The ink-and-watercolor artwork uses full color for the children (focusing on their expressive faces), and often mutes (or omits) the backgrounds. Comics conventions are used to good effect, and the final spreads feature the large, ethnically diverse cast of children. Appended with notes about bullying, this will be a welcome addition to the choose-kindness shelf.--Weisman, Kay Copyright 2017 Booklist


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

In this wordless story, brown-skinned newcomer Vanessa is bullied by a white boy as she walks home alone from school. A girl classmate witnesses the abuse; the next morning she walks to school with Vanessa and they're joined by more supporters. Watercolor and ink illustrations excel at communicating emotions; a mix of vignettes and full-page illustrations expertly controls the pacing. Bullying-related resources are appended. (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus
Copyright © Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

In this wordless book, new girl Vanessa, shy and withdrawn, becomes a bully's target after school and finally runs home in tears.Another little girl sees it happen and is concerned enough to tell all of her friends, who also become concerned and wander home, sad for Vanessa. The observant girl stays up late, worrying, and the next morning, has the idea to go to Vanessa's house and offer to walk her to school, which she does. They're joined by one more kid, then another, and another, until a smiling throng accompanies Vanessa to school, with the bully skulking away. (Adult readers may recall a similar real-life scenario that took place at Baylor University in 2016, when a black student was racially bullied and then 300 students walked her to class.) In this book, Vanessa is black, and the protagonist has light brown skin and straight black hair. The bully is white, and the rest of the students are different ethnicities and races. Kerascot's sweet, charming illustrations do the talking in this bookno words appear, and none are needed. Each page is lovingly and respectfully drawn using a lot of white space, spare application of bright watercolor, and thick ink linework kept simple but loaded with impact and emotion. Tips for children on helping a target of bullying and language for adults to use when talking about bullying with children follow the story.A wonderfully illustrated, hopeful book that can help caregivers tackle an emotionally fraught subject with even very young children. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

In this powerful wordless tale by the French duo KerascoŽt (Paul and Antoinette), a child reaches out to a fellow pupil who has been bullied. Vanessa isn't the only child of color in her school, but she is new; the teacher introduces her, and she sits by herself. On the way home, she's accosted by a boy with yellow hair, cries, and runs back to her house. Another girl sees what has happened, and, in an important series of vignettes, the artists make it clear how much the incident upsets her-one nighttime spread shows both girls awake and despondent in their bedrooms. In the morning, the girl invites Vanessa to walk to school with her, and they are soon joined by other children. It's not a story about bullying per se-although Vanessa's pain is evident, her emotions are not its focus. Instead, it looks at stepping up and being an ally. The wordless pages and small, toylike figures make this a good choice for young children who can work out for themselves what has happened, what Vanessa's new friend does, and why it works. Ages 4-8. Agent: Kirsten Hall, Catbird Agency. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.