Roberto Walks Home
Published by: Viking Juvenile
Release Date: October 30, 2008
Contributors: Ezra Jack Keats, Jody Wheeler (Illustrator)
Roberto is thrilled that his older brother Miguel is going to walk him home from school. But when Miguel forgets and shoots hoops with his friends instead, Roberto is mad and has to walk alone. How will Miguel make it up to Roberto?
Inspired by the works of Ezra Jack Keats and featuring Roberto, a classic character from Dreams, Louie, and Pet Show!, this moving story by award-winning author Janice N. Harrington with gorgeous Keatsian illustrations by Jody Wheeler is sure to win the hearts of Ezra Jack Keats fans.
"Kindergarten-Grade 3—Harrington follows Roberto, a character who appears a number of times in Ezra Jack Keats's picture books, on his way home from school. His older brother was supposed to have picked him up, and they were going to play basketball, but Miguel never shows up and Roberto is forced to walk the streets alone. When he passes the courts and sees Miguel playing a game of hoops with the bigger kids, Roberto is understandably furious. Back in their room, he slams and stomps until he wears himself out and falls fast asleep. After a wonderful dream in which he flies over the courts and snatches the ball away, Roberto is awakened by an apologetic Miguel, who takes him out to play. Keats was one of the first to feature children of color in picture books, and this homage is a reminder of what we owe to his artistic vision. Despite being derivative, the illustrations hold their own and evocatively emulate Keats's bright, colorful work. This story of two brothers who forgive each other's flaws is worth adding to most collections."
—Joan Kindig, School Library Journal, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
"Harrington captures much of the cadence of the late master’s writing in this original story, while adding layers of metaphors and Spanish words. Wheeler’s composite art is likewise distinctly inspired by Keats. Together, the words and pictures depict sympathetic characters who express authentic feelings of betrayal, contrition, and reconciliation in a gritty urban setting. Approved by the Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, this is both a successful homage and a good story in its own right, particularly for inspiring empathy when there are similar emotions brewing at home. Grades K-2."
—Andrew Medlar, Booklist