When was the last time you participated in a block party?

I remember Crown Heights Oral History Project, which highlighted the importance of keeping our communities alive. Call me weird, but I deplore the metamorphosis I see taking place where we live: neighbors who do not know each other, who do not lend each other a helping hand, who do not barbecue together on the 4th of July or during the football season… Yes I am nostalgic and chagrined; thus imagine my joy when Around Our Way on Neighbor’s Day, written by Tameka Fryer Brown, came along!

“Blue sky, no clouds,
Summer heat, side street (…)”

The first lines set the tone: no cloud in the sky; if you were moody when you picked up the book, prepare yourself to smile. I like that I can sing the text. I am enjoying how fun it is to read it to children. I challenge the adult to remain seated during the whole reading. “Blading, step dance, double dutch,” makes me wanna dance with the kids. πŸ™‚

Around Our Way is illustrated by award-winning artist Charlotte Riley-Webb, who captured the spirit of the story, from the vibrancy of her color choices to the movement of the characters immortalized by each strokes. Around Our Way celebrates the diversity and genuine friendship that can be observed, and if needed revived, in our neighborhoods. This book reminded me of our planet, with its own neighborhood party of a sort.

Around Our Way is Tameka Brown’s first book, and it already garnered an impressing coverage (see below). For more information, including book related activities, visit http://www.tamekafryerbrown.com/.

o A positive review from Kirkus, which called Around Our Way Lively! (must be logged in to read the entire article). For an excerpt of the review, click on the link below.
o A notable review from The Brown Bookshelf.
o A great review from A Book and A Hug, a blog that helps you pick a book for your kid (according to gender, reading level, etc…)
o Authors Now! interviews Tameka Brown and explores the richness of Around Our Way through its various applications in the classroom. In addition, Tameka Brown shares the topics she covers in workshops.
o Would Around Our Way score with teachers and parents? The website K12 Reader provides an original insight, notably through an analysis of some of the phonetic elements of the story.
o Tameka Brown interviewed by award-winning journalist and educator Amy Bowllan, whose blog is home to the Writers Against Racism series and is hosted by the School Library Journal’s website.
o Tameka Brown featured on Cynsations!

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day! πŸ™‚

Around Our Way (2010) is published by Abrams Books for Young Readers.
Links updated 9/15/2010 @ 9:42 PM.

6 thoughts on “Picture Book Review: AROUND OUR WAY, by Tameka Fryer Brown; Illus. by Charlotte Riley-Webb

  1. I sounds like a fun book. Your description is as upbeat as the book must be. πŸ™‚ I love the cover illustration, too!


  2. I can’t wait to read this book! The illustrations look wonderful – and the rhyme, catchy and bright. Already I’m missing my city days!


    1. Ann, I kid you not: school here starts September 23, and I asked the owners where I live if they would let us organize us a potluck event before that date. It would give the community (newbies and veterans) the opportunity to know each other a little bit, before we all get swapped by the craziness surrounding the midterms and final exams.


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