Cover Image: My City Speaks

My City Speaks

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Member Reviews

"My City Speaks" by Darren Lebeuf is a poetic ode to a bustling city. The speaker of the title is a young girl who navigates the city with the help of her father and her white cane.  She describes the life of the city in simple text that draws on all of the senses.  Ashley Barron's signature cut paper illustrations highlight this vitality through their use of layering, different patterns, and bright colors.   The protagonist's blindness is never mentioned. Consequently the book manages to emphasize the young girl's gifts rather than her handicap.  This picture book would be a great addition to a classroom that is looking for books that promote inclusivity.
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I read a review copy of My City Speaks by Darren Lebeuf and illustrated by Ashley Barron on
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This book is LOVELY. Not only am I quickly becoming Ashley Barron's biggest fans (I LOVE her work!), but Darren Lebeuf actually makes me want to visit a big city (which is a big feat for this country girl)! I love that he doesn't sugar coat every aspect of city life, but at the same time, highlights its beauty and familiarity for this little girl (who uses what appears to be a white cane - a walking stick for the visually impaired). I love the potential conversations that this book would spark. I would definitely read this to my own children and in my Kindergarten classroom!
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My City Speaks is a delightful picture book written by Darren Lebeuf and illustrated by Ashley Barron. The story follows a young girl who is visually impaired as she navigates the city with her father. It’s a celebration of sounds, scents, and textures set to the rhythm of a large city.

There’s much to love about this book and the way the words and illustrations tell the story together. The writing is simple and rhythmic—not rhyming, but poetic with the lyrical feel of a beating drum. While the colorful, scrapbook-esque illustrations are detailed, adding texture and visually enhancing the story’s sensory adventure.

It’s also great for beginning readers: simple sentences, easier verbs, an abundance of sight words, and some repetition of non-sight words.

My City Speaks offers kids a glimpse into the life of a differently abled person. Which it does well. But I wish there would have been more to the story. (To be honest, I may have had higher expectations for this book since its primary purpose is sharing the experiences of a differently abled person.)

Overall, young readers will enjoy the sensory adventure My City Speaks offers. It would be a great addition to any classroom, for independent reading practice or as an opener for a larger discussion about what it means to be differently abled and that being different doesn’t mean less.

I received this book as an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I received an electronic ARC from Kids Can Press through NetGalley.
Lebeuf brings readers along as a dad and daughter move through their city. Early in the book, readers see that the girl is visually impaired. They hear/see the city as she experiences it. Barron's illustrations bring the text to life in vivid colors. The details show the ways the city has provided adaptations for handicapable residents.
I appreciate the simple presentation that this is their world and they are simply living their lives. This normalizes lives that may not match expectations.
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My City Speaks, by Darren Lebeuf, is a sweet, easy-to-read narrative that lets readers experience life in a bustling city as observed by a young girl with impaired vision. Readers walk through the city streets and experience the smells (of stinky garbage!), sounds (of buzzing bees in the community garden, church bells, honking horns, & beeping construction equipment), taste (ice cream!), and feelings (a dog licking the girl's elbow, a smooth metal slide at the park, the bumps at the edge of the sidewalk that let you know the road is closeby), of city life. We stopped on each page and pointed out all the different things the main character encountered and my son noted several times that she might not be able to see what we do (a bee pollinating a sunflower), but she can experience the same things we do with her other senses (by hearing the bee's buzz near her ear). It's a great introduction to the many ways people can experience our world & provoked several great conversations with our family. 

As residents of a major American city, my family is a sucker for books that take place in large, noisy, crowded urban communities. This book is reminiscent of some of our very favorite works of children's literature, The Snowy Day, City Moon, and Last Stop on Market Street. We love stories about characters just living an ordinary day in their community. 

We're also a family who uses mobility aids on occasion, and my five-year-old was quick to point out the main character's walking stick, which she used to help her walk safely through her city despite her limited vision. (The origin and extent of her disability are not disclosed, and, notably, her disability isn't explicitly mentioned at all.) 

The book's artwork, created primarily with cut-paper collage by Ashley Barron, is colorful and detailed, and the texture of the many types of paper used really enhances readers' sensory experience when paging through the book. We loved this book, and will recommend that our friends in the city check it out when it's released in the fall!
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Told through cut-paper collage illustrations that feel like they are leaping off the page, this story follows a visually impaired girl as she shares how she experiences her city. It tells how the city moves and pulses and listens and speaks. I thought it was very interesting and would be one that I could read again and again.
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Thank you to Darren Lebeuf, Kids Can Press, and Netgalley for the opportunity to review this forthcoming title.

I absolutely LOVED "My City Speaks" by Darren Lebeuf, illustrated by Ashley Baron! I am always keeping my eyes open for Canadian works to share with families in my community, and this title just skyrocketed to the top of my rec list.

The narrative follows a young girl who is blind as she commutes through the city with her father, on the way to a violin recital. The young girl's disability is never explicitly stated, rather the reader learns this through illustrations and other contextual cues--great for encouraging critical thinking in young readers! Most importantly for diverse representation, the young girl is not characterized by her blindness; she is an inquisitive, intelligent, creative child who happens to be blind. 

"My City Speaks" would be a great read-aloud or "lap read" for an individual child. The city comes alive with concise sensory descriptions including the "pitters and patters," "dings and dongs," and scents of the city. I will recommend for approx. ages 3-6.

"My City Speaks" would also be a great choice for teachers, accompanying explorations of senses and/or communities.
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This was such a beautiful children’s book! The main character is a little girl who is visually impaired, and the book describes her city using her other senses. The pictures in this book were wonderful!
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Darren Lebeuf’s My City Speaks is as visually appealing as the story which enfolds. Ashley Barron’s bright illustrations add to the book and encourage children to have conversations as you read through the story. The main characters explore the different sounds and smells they find as they traverse through their city. The book effectively informs readers that they main character is blind without stating it, and is overall inclusive in the illustrations. This is a great book for discussion with young children.
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In My City Speaks, a young visually impaired girl takes a stroll through her city with her dad and describes the ways in which the city speaks. Thank you to Kids Can Press for the e-galley via NetGalley.

First, I do want to comment on the main character being a young girl who is visually impaired. I found that to be so inclusive and such a great way to show the spectrum that visually impaired people are on. This is great for children to view other children with visible differences as being main characters with important stories and experiences to share. The picture book itself is so vibrant with colours and characters as we follow the character through her city. This was such a great picture book that was so descriptive as it considers all the elements of an urban community - the way it sounds, feels, tastes, and can be experienced. It will surely inspire readers to also consider the communities they live in and be more observant of all that is around them.
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A father and daughter explore their city as they head off to where the little girl will play her violin in the park.  On their journey they experience their city through four of the little girl's senses.  She uses four because she is visually impaired.  They visit the community garden, the marketplace, and take part in all the hustle and bustle that the city has to offer.  Lovely poetic words are used to describe and celebrate their adventure: her city "rushes and stops", "waits and goes", "pitters and patters", "echoes and trills", just to name a few.  At the end of the book when the little girl plays her violin at the concert the city stops and listens. 

This delightful book points out that although the little girl has only four senses it does not impede her ability to submerge herself in the city life that she loves so dearly.  

The talented illustrator creates lovely vivid hued cut-paper collage illustrations that visually enrich the text.  I love the book and was delighted to learn that the story and illustrations were reviewed by a blind sensitivity reader.  I highly recommend it.
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This is one of my favorite picture books that I've read this year! It is amazing to see a children's picture book that features a character with a disability, but isn't centered on their disability -- such as books about friendship, social-emotional, etc... This book is about the experience of being in the city through the eyes of a young blind girl. The descriptions of the city are spot-on, and would make a great addition to any preschool unit about buildings, cities, communities, or transportation. It encourages children to use all their senses to think and describe the world around them. It also highlights that she can do all the same things as any other child with the proper accommodations! Love, love, love.
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[  Rating 4.5 out of 5  ] Thank you to Kids Can Press and NetGalley for the eARC to read and review!

I loved this story! As the main character brings the reader along on her commute through the city she lives in, she explains what her city is like despite her limited vision. The cover is beautiful and the cut-paper collage of illustrations stunning! It made the story come alive. I could gaze at the illustrations all day. "My City Speaks" is a must-read, lyrical and visually pleasing story.
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We follow a little girl as she explores her city with her father on the way to her concert.

Ashley Barron cut-paper collage illustrations are so beautiful and added so much personality to the story. Darren Lebeuf did a fantastic job taking us along with our protagonist through her city as she uses four of her senses to describe what she experiences. There are so many beautiful things we can extend from this book into the classroom (or with our children) - it's a great starting point to discussing the five senses and invite children to share what they hear, feel, taste, smell, and see. It has excellent opposites examples, and more than anything, I love how the representation in this book is dealt with. The little girl is visually impaired, but that doesn't stop her from living her best life, and I love that her father is the one taking her to her concert on that day. I'm a sucker for parent representation that goes beyond the cis female mother (even though I am one myself).

 Disclaimer: I first read it as an ARC. In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to Kids Can Press, Darren Lebeuf, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of My City Speaks.
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This was a cute read featuring a girl who is visually impaired and her father. During their day, he takes her to the park to play her violin. As their day goes along the father and daughter experience the city through sounds at the places they visit and the transport they go on from the buses to the sounds at the playground, the garden, marketplace, and eventually an outdoor concert where our main character is featured. This would also make a perfect read-aloud book as children would love the sounds of the city and features all the five senses. The illustrations are also beautifully put together. The other thing that is awesome about this book is that it was reviewed by a blind sensitivity reader. My City Speaks is perfect for children aged 3 - 6 years old.
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This book is a gem.  It hits so many good things.  My City Speaks has diverse character representation; the main character is a person of color and uses a white cane associated with sight difficulties.  As she explores her city with her grown-up, she uses all of her other senses to notice what she hears, smells, tastes, and touches. The detail in the text is great, and the color and details of the illustrations bring the pictures to life.

Eventually the girl reaches her destination, which is a violin performance in a park.  She is the musician and the book ends with her sweet little recital. This book would be excellent read-aloud for children preschool through early elementary age. I am going to keep this on my gift list as something I'd like to purchase for my five year old daughter once it releases!
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With bright colors, a good story for young readers, and a not too boring story for parents to read to their children this is a story that little ones will like.
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A beautifully illustrated picture book celebrating community. Father and son enjoy numerous views of a city scape.
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I love this!!!   The illustrations are so beautiful and colorful and vivid!  This would work well for a large group read in the classroom, but it would also be a great one-on-one read with lots of opportunity to explore the pictures and discuss what we see and sense.  

Very nice visual impairment rep.  The main character uses a cane and it's not explicitly addressed at all.  It's just a matter of fact part of her existence and the focus of the story is entirely on what she does and experiences, not anything she can't do.   

I can't wait to get this in my classroom!

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review!
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