Review Detail

Kids Fiction 397
intriguing #ownvoices picture book featuring a favela from Brazil
Overall rating
 
4.5
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
5.0
FROM MY WINDOW is an #ownvoices picture book that transports children to a favela in Brazil. As explained in the back of the book, favelas are special types of districts that are managed by the people who live in them instead of the government. While it is difficult to get running water or electricity, the buildings are built with sturdy materials. In the favela the author grew up in, there are problems with violence, but also music like Brazilian funk (or favela funk) and people playing football (soccer).

The book brings up these topics in a light way by describing the things the author sees "from my window." The main character sees people playing soccer, rainbows, people carrying books to school, and more. The main character even creates music with his friends that sounds like poetry.

What I loved: Every page is covered in artwork that is really unique and illustrates the book well. I loved all the "Ola"s you can see as people interact, even where you can't see them. The book captures Brazil beautifully and can really bring new insight into children's lives. The people depicted are quite diverse, representing many races, genders, and ages. Each page only has a sentence or two, so they can turn very quickly.

In terms of the less positive instances of life in a favela, the page which mentions violence does so circuitously, saying "From my window, I hear sounds that make me very sad. Sometimes I can't go to school or play ball outside." While this will likely go over some young readers' heads, others may want to delve deeper and have a discussion with parents about what this means. The book does not provide specific instances, so parents can describe as desired/as is age appropriate.

Most of the book focuses on the positives and manages to show collaboration, such as when they work to fix a roof when it rains (two characters hold umbrellas over another who is working) and playing soccer together/making music with friends.

Final verdict: FROM MY WINDOW is a way to introduce other cultures/other peoples' lives to young readers and spark discussions that parents/caregivers can decide how deep to delve into. The artwork is really unique with bright colors and many interesting details, adding some visual appeal into the reading experience.
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