Yard Sale, written by Even Bunting and illustrated by Lauren Castillo begins, "Almost everything we own is spread out in our front yard. We are moving to a small apartment." Yard Sale is a rare picture book that addresses socioeconomic status, and, working in a school where almost 90% of my students qualify for free lunch, I am grateful for it.
Over the course of the day Callie experiences a range of emotions as she sees the things she has grown up with leave her life. Chagrined, she watches as a woman talks down the price of her headboard because "someone has put crayon marks on it." Callie made those marks to show how many time she read Goodnight Moon.
She is angry as she sees a man loading her bike into his truck. Her father rushes over, explaining to her that they have to sell her bike - there is no place to store it and no place to ride it at their new apartment. Callie tells her friend Sara that they have to move because it's "something to do with money." A shiver runs through Callie, from her toes to her head, when a woman playfully asks if she is for sale.
Walking back inside their now empty house, Callie feels OK. It's "OK because we don't really need anything we've sold. And those things won't fit in our new place anyway. But we will fit in our new place. And we are taking us."
With Yard Sale, Bunting and Castillo tell this story of a difficult transition with simplicity, sensitivity, honesty and dignity. Castillo's illustrations are washed with warm colors, outlined in black. The yard strewn with the family's belongings is hodge-podge but also somewhat comfortable. Yard Sale broke my heart and it took me several months before I could think about reviewing it or reading it out loud to my students. But, this is the reality that many children live with these days, especially the students at the school where I am a librarian. My students are constantly moving from apartment to apartment, house to house, as their parents lose jobs, change jobs, return to Mexico or go to jail. There are always yard sales going on in my community and I know that Bunting and Castillo's book is one that I will read again and again to my students.
Source: Review Copy