The World Belonged to Us
Two children’s book superstars—#1 New York Times bestseller Jacqueline Woodson, the author of The Day You Begin, and Leo Espinosa, the illustrator of Islandborn—join forces to celebrate the joy and freedom of summer in the city, which is gloriously captured in their rhythmic text and lively art.
It's getting hot outside, hot enough to turn on the hydrants and run through the water--and that means it's finally summer in the city! Released from school and reveling in their freedom, the kids on one Brooklyn block take advantage of everything summertime has to offer: Freedom from morning till night to go out to meet their friends and make the streets their playground--jumping double Dutch, playing tag and hide-and-seek, building forts, chasing ice cream trucks, and best of all, believing anything is possible. That is, till their moms call them home for dinner. But not to worry--they know there is always tomorrow to do it all over again--because the block belongs to them and they rule their world.
(This book is also available in Spanish, as El mundo era nuestro!)
Praise for The World Belonged to Us
* "Lilting, intimate-feeling lines by Woodson capture a delicious sense of autonomy and possibility shared 'In Brooklyn/ in the summer/ not so long ago,' when 'the minute/ school ended, us kids were free as air.' Pencil and digital art centers blue skies and city landscapes as Espinosa draws children of varying ages and skin tones bursting from the doors of a school, with 1970s clothing details that are right on the mark. . . . They also engage in camaraderie and community care, comforting each other after scrapes, noticing each other’s gifts, and sharing an ice cream truck’s bounty. . . . Affirming the strengths of shared experiences and power drawn from collective appreciation, the creators show how a childhood can engender joy that follows 'everywhere I’d ever go.'” --Publishers Weekly, starred review
* "This nostalgic homage to Woodson’s childhood in her beloved Brooklyn evokes the senses: the sounds of laughter and double Dutch rhymes, the sight of sidewalk chalk and bottle cap games, and the taste of an ice cream cone with rainbow sprinkles from the ice cream truck. . . . The amazing diversity of the neighborhood comes through both in Espinosa’s lively, colorful retro illustrations, which depict Black, brown, and White children, and Woodson’s lyrical text, which describes kids calling 'out to each other / in Spanish / in English / in Polish / in German / in Chinese.' . . . Espinosa depicts many characters with mouths wide open, emphasizing their unbridled delight and loudness. Author and illustrator offer a refreshing reminder of a pre-internet time when full-immersion play was the summer activity and kids took full advantage. A dream team of talent show and tell a delightful story of summers gone by." --Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* “In this joyful and nostalgic celebration of young Black girlhood, multi-award-winning author Woodson remembers fondly how, not so long ago in Brooklyn, when school ended for the summer, the neighborhood kids headed outdoors to play, “free as air, free as sun.” . . . Brightly colored illustrations jam-packed with joyful details fill every page in this positive endorsement of unstructured play. At the end, readers can join in dreaming along with the child who now sits on her front stoop, excited about the many tomorrows to come—not just in Brooklyn, not just for the summer, but everywhere and always.” —Booklist, starred review
* "Fond memories of summer vacation at home in Brooklyn are the backbone of this vivid picture book memoir. Woodson describes what it was like to leave school and have an extended period of free time without a great deal of adult supervision. . . . Woodson’s evocative use of language will bring readers right into the hot Brooklyn streets. The illustrations are perfect for this story, with a 1970s retro vibe. The joyful portrayal of many different kinds of kids in the expressive text is echoed in the striking artwork. This will make an excellent conversation starter for families about how kids used to play. . . . A gorgeous depiction of summer vacation in Brooklyn in the 1970s that could work in writing classes as well. Don’t miss this one." —School Library Journal, starred review
* “This lyrical paean to unstructured play does not wax nostalgic or harken back to a simpler time. Rather, Woodson sets out to capture (and brilliantly succeeds in it) a feeling and a moment. . . . Espinosa’s kinetic pen-and-ink and watercolor art captures a cadre of kids in perpetual motion—biking, jumping rope, building forts, shooting bottle caps, playing stickball—and conveys unbridled joy and mutual respect and admiration. This book reminds readers that the benefits of free play, independence, and being excited about what each day may hold can extend beyond a Brooklyn block one summer to a lifetime of creative possibility. Simultaneously published in Spanish as El mundo era nuestro, translated by Yanitzia Canetti.” —Horn Book, starred review
“Focuses on that magical transition from last day of school to first days of summer vacation and lures listeners to scamper back and forth . . . over a multigenerational bridge of contrasting and shared experience. . . . The details rendered in Espinosa’s cheerfully busy scenes are tiny invitations to the contemporary audience to talk about how very different/just the same things are now.” —The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“Woodson and Espinosa's energetic reminiscence of 1970s Brooklyn joyfully celebrates the freedom of a summer spent playing all over the neighborhood. . . . The lilting Spanish text echoes the lively scenes in Espinosa's effervescent, vintage-hued artwork, with lyrical repetition emphasizing the key sentiments of Woodson's verses. This warm and inviting picture book offers a heartening, nostalgic view of the strength of community and the bliss of play.” —Booklist