- A Little Space for Me by Jennifer Gray Olson
Olson, Jennifer Gray A Little Space for Me; written and illus. by Jennifer Gray Olson. Roaring Brook, 2020 [40p] Trade ed. ISBN 9781250206268 $18.99 Reviewed from galleys R 4-7 yrs
A young girl is often overwhelmed by the world around her: "Sometimes my life feels very crowded." Input ranges from loud to messy to "hot or smelly or scratchy or bright" to "too much for no reason at all," so the girl comes to a conclusion that she needs space; she climbs up to the sky and puts some space (what looks like a liquidized version of the galaxy) in a bottle—and then in a bucket, and a jar, and many pots and pans. Sharing her space with her large family, the girl also shares with them a moment of serenity, but she stands by the fact that "everybody needs a little SPACE sometimes." This readaloud is a thought-provoking rumination on mindfulness, as the little girl in the story carves out a place where she can meditate despite her bustling life. Olson's art is gorgeous, with watercolor that often uses multiple hues that blur into each other in lush gradients; "space," as the girl paints it on walls, bottles it up, and pours it out, is a beautiful galaxy scene littered with stars. Cluttered spreads full of people and food, though in muted and calm colors, show readers the need in the girl's life for a little quiet. This would be an excellent choice for a bedtime book as kids wind down from their chaotic days.