Posted in picture books, Preschool Reads

Lala’s Words illustrate the power of kindness

Lala’s Words, by Gracey Zhang, (April 2021, Scholastic Inc), $18.99, ISBN: 9781338648232

Ages 4-8

A little girl named Lala runs from her apartment to tend her own private little garden every day, much to her mother’s exasperation. Lala speaks lovingly, gently to the plants in her care, telling them she loves them, and how lovely they are; she brings them water to get through the hot days and nourish them.  Her mother, frustrated by Lala’s clothes being torn and dirty, or by her bouncing around and being a kid, cooped up in an apartment, snaps at her to “be still and quiet” and to “stop playing with dirt and weeds!”, but Lala knows her friends need her. When Mom orders her to stay home one day, Lala whispers to her friends, hoping her good thoughts and love will reach them… and they do. The power of words is strong in Lala’s Words, as we see Lala’s mother using angry words on one page, and on the opposite, Lala whispering loving, growing, words to her plants. Words can cut, and words can help us grow: in this case, literally, as we see Lala’s wishes come to fruition as her plants grow to seek her out and provide comfort. Lala’s mother, moved by her daughter’s accomplishments, finally gives Lala the loving encouragement she needs. Gracey Zhang uses spare color in this mostly black-and-white brush work: Lala’s yellow dress is a sign of life in the humdrum cityscape, as are the green of her plants. An enchanting book.

Read an interview with Gracey Zhang on Scholastic School Libraries Ambassador, John Schu, on his website, Watch. Connect. Read.


I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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