Destiny loves words, and her favorite place in the world is Mrs. Wade’s bookstore. On Saturdays, Destiny helps Mrs. Wade at the store. Just before closing, Mrs. Wade makes a pot of tea and she and Destiny sit together, nibbling cookies and talking about books. Sometimes, Destiny even shares some of her own writing, while Mrs. Wade listens closely with her eyes closed.
One Saturday, Mrs. Wade does not seem her usual self, and Destiny later learns the store may have to close. Destiny is determined not to let this happen. As she rallies the community to help keep the store open, she also creates an imaginative journal for Mrs. Wade that captures the warmth and special magic of the store forever.
Praise for Destiny’s Gift:
Grade 1-3–A bittersweet ode to a beloved bookstore that is threatened with closure. Destiny loves words, and the store’s owner has long fostered that love by allowing the girl to hang around, encouraging her to learn new words and letting her help stock shelves and water the plants. Their special relationship may come to an end, however, when Destiny learns that Mrs. Wade can no longer afford the rent. This quiet, evocative book clearly reflects the special sense of community that a wonderful neighborhood bookstore can bring. However, there are no pat solutions here; the story ends with the closure still looming in spite of a community effort to appeal to the landlord and raise funds. The only resolution is Destiny’s gift, a gift of words in the form of a story she has written for Mrs. Wade. Collage illustrations in soothing tones are a bit static, yet combine lovely, textured papers with pencil enhancements to create a warm, multicultural environment complete with well-stocked bookstore shelves.
— School Library Journal
Pre S-Gr. 2. The local children’s bookstore is a special place for Destiny, who visits there and helps out after school and on weekends. She has a close bond with the owner, Mrs. Wade, who shares books and talks about the magic of words and stories. Then the rent goes up and the store may have to close, and that galvanizes Destiny and her parents to organize the neighborhood with fund-raisers and demonstrations to try to save the store. The characters are idyllic, but there’s no slick solution: it’s never certain that the store will remain open. Burrowes’ clear, bright collages of cut paper, watercolor, and acrylics show individuals in a vital African American neighborhood, and the bookstore is a lively place with shelves of books displayed on almost every page. Many kids will relate to the adult who brings them the gift of story–at home, at school, at the library, or at the bookstore.
Tarpley (I Love My Hair!) and Burrowes (Grandma’s Purple Flowers) deliver a love letter-to all youngsters who embrace the world of words, and to the independent booksellers who nurture their passion. Narrator Destiny, an aspiring writer and avid reader, makes her second home in the neighborhood bookstore owned by Mrs. Wade. Destiny’s friend and mentor, Mrs. Wade is charismatic and stylish; working in collage, Burrowes gives the woman cut-paper silver dreadlocks that seem to bristle with creative energy. . .The first-person narrative captures Destiny’s girlish voice and idealism, her budding observational powers and the way in which she, like all voracious readers, finds a magic in books that’s independent of the words within their covers (‘Sometimes I’d open a book, stick my nose in between the pages, and take a big whiff’ says Destiny of the new arrivals. ‘It smelled like ink and grass and the old clothes in my granny’s closet’). The compositions’. . . quiet, sculptural feel conjure a sense of people and place, and anchors the story’s mood of hopefulness.
— Publisher’s Weekly