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Reviewed by:
  • I Am the Storm by Jane Yolen
  • Elizabeth Bush
Yolen, Jane I Am the Storm; by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple; illus. by Kristen and Kevin Howdeshell. Rise x Penguin Workshop, 2020 [32p]
Trade ed. ISBN 9780593222751 $17.99
E-book ed. ISBN 9780593225400 $10.99
Reviewed from digital galleys R 3-7 yrs

In this benevolent fictional take on disaster response, children from four families, representing parts of America prone to different natural disasters, describe their family’s experiences when trouble arrives. Tornado? Party together in the basement with flashlights and books and games. Wildfire? Camp by a lake and enjoy nature. Blizzard? Snuggle by the fireplace when the power goes out and roast hot dogs and marshmallows. Hurricane? Shelter with cousins further inland. It all sounds like a pretty good time, at least until the hurricane refugee, subdued next to his rollicking cousins, admits to being a bit scared. Yes, there’s lots of support and well-timed deflection from protective adults, but there’s also the reality of fear that the best intentions and amusing diversions can’t erase. Yolen and Stemple’s soothing text, combined with brief and plain spoken appended paragraphs on the four storms, is firmly focused on the optimistic, but that makes it just the ticket for parents seeking to approach this topic with sensitivity; the Howdeshells’ use of bright, contrasting color creates visual tension that acknowledges the jitters running through the cozy domestic scenes. The narrators celebrate their resilience, and even the most nervous of the lot attests, “when the storm passes, as it always does, I am the calm, too.”