Destiny's GiftAuthor Natasha Anastasia Tarpley ISBN 9781600606441 Binding Trade Paper Publisher Lee & Low Books Publication Date September 17, 2010 Size 254 x 229 mm
Now in paperback, the story of an African American girl who uses her resourcefulness and creativity to help keep her friend's neighborhood bookstore from going out of business
Destiny loves words, and her favourite place in the world is Mrs. Wade's bookstore, where words abound. On Saturdays, Destiny helps Mrs. Wade at the store, and at day's end they relax together, drinking tea and reading. Then one Saturday Mrs. Wade does not seem her usual self, and Destiny later learns the store may have to close.
Destiny is determined not to let this happen. As she rallies the community to help keep the store open, she also creates an imaginative journal for Mrs. Wade that captures the warmth and special magic of the store forever.
—— Kirkus Reviews
"A bittersweet ode to a beloved bookstore that is threatened with closure. Destiny loves words, and the store's owner has long fostered that love by allowing the girl to hang around, encouraging her to learn new words and letting her help stock shelves and water the plants. Their special relationship may come to an end, however, when Destiny learns that Mrs. Wade can no longer afford the rent. This quiet, evocative book clearly reflects the special sense of community that a wonderful neighborhood bookstore can bring. However, there are no pat solutions here; the story ends with the closure still looming in spite of a community effort to appeal to the landlord and raise funds. The only resolution is Destiny's gift, a gift of words in the form of a story she has written for Mrs. Wade. Collage illustrations in soothing tones... combine lovely, textured papers with pencil enhancements to create a warm, multicultural environment complete with well-stocked bookstore shelves. Pair this story with Arthur Levine's Pearl Moscowitz's Last Stand (Morrow, 1993; o.p.) to spark a conversation about the importance of community involvement. . . . A worthwhile addition."
—— School Library Journal
"The local children's bookstore is a special place for Destiny, who visits there and helps out after school and on weekends. She has a close bond with the owner, Mrs. Wade, who shares books and talks about the magic of words and stories. Then the rent goes up and the store may have to close, and that galvanizes Destiny and her parents to organize the neighborhood with fund-raisers and demonstrations to try to save the store. The characters are idyllic, but there's no slick solution; it's never certain that the store will remain open. Burrowes' clear, bright collages of cut paper, watercolor and acrylics show individuals in a vital African American neighborhood, and the bookstore is a lively place with shelves of books displayed on almost every page. Many kids will relate to the adult who brings them the gift of a story-at home, at school, at the library, or at the bookstore."
—— Booklist "Tarpley (I Love My Hair!) and Burrowes (Grandma's Purple Flowers) deliver a love letter-to all youngsters who embrace the world of words, and to the independent booksellers who nurture their passion. Narrator Destiny, an aspiring writer and avid reader, makes her second home in the neighborhood bookstore owned by Mrs. Wade. Destiny's friend and mentor, Mrs. Wade is charismatic and stylish; working in collage, Burrowes gives the woman cut-paper silver dreadlocks that seem to bristle with creative energy. . .The first-person narrative captures Destiny's girlish voice and idealism, her budding observational powers and the way in which she, like all voracious readers, finds a magic in books that's independent of the words within their covers ('Sometimes I'd open a book, stick my nose in between the pages, and take a big whiff' says Destiny of the new arrivals. 'It smelled like ink and grass and the old clothes in my granny's closet'). The compositions'. . . quiet, sculptural feel conjure a sense of people and place, and anchors the story's mood of hopefulness."
—— Publishers Weekly