Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Out After Dark! The Night Is Yours by Abdul-Razak Zachariah

Little one, so calm and happy,

this is your night.

Oh, what is so rare as a night in summer?

Those warm nights, with their long twilights, with air and shadows so soft--what a great time to play!
Grab the cool breezes in the courtyard. This is where you chill.

Some of childhood's fondest memories are of hiding and seeking games outside, while neighbor parents softly chat and laugh together nearby.

We found the best hiding places and tried not to giggle and give ourselves away when we heard the countdown and "Coming, Ready or Not! And when we were hot and tired of running and chasing, and the one who is IT sings "Olly, olly, in free," we threw ourselves down on the grass and looked up, at the moths circling the street lights like glowing fireflies, at the moon having its moment, at the stars all out. Who can spot the Big Dipper?
This is your night!

The dark skies are still full of your laughter and joy.

Abdul-Razak Zachariah's The Night Is Yours (Dial Books, 2019) put in a poetic plea for children and parents to take back the night, to enjoy the fun of spending some time outside as it grows dark. There's a sense of freedom from the day's responsibilities; the outdoors is different in the gloaming, a good time to enjoy coming together as friends, family, and community.  Keturah Bobo's distinctive double-page spreads, backlighted by the full moon, add to the fun of taking back the nights. Says School Library Journal in a starred review, "Zachariah's lyrical language aches to be read aloud and the second-person narrative makes this a perfect book to share one-on-one or in storytime."

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