Everybody in the Red Brick Building

Written by Anne Wynter
Illustrated by Oge Mora
32 pages  •  Published 2021 (Balzer + Bray)
Book cover
Recommended Age Range: Toddler through Kindergarten.
Publisher's Summary: Everybody in the red brick building was asleep. Until… WaaaAAH! Rraak! Wake up! Pitter patter STOMP! Pssheew! A chain reaction of noises wakes up several children (and a cat) living in an apartment building. But it’s late in the night, so despite the disturbances, one by one, the building’s inhabitants return to their beds—this time with a new set of sounds to lull them to sleep.
Book cover

Dr. Annie's Takeaways

Recommended for: This story is really excellent for soothing a young child who has been woken up by a loud noise. It’s particularly relevant for a child who lives in a city. The Red Brick Building is an apartment building, and a car alarm is featured prominently. It’s a fun story with repetitive onomatopoeias that really sing, and it encourages a child to listen to the quiet sounds of a city night as they fall back asleep.
Would a child like it? Many children will love the onomatopoeias in this story as well as the chain reaction of sounds. It’s a playful read that I can imagine a child wanting to read over and over.
Evidence-Based Practices: Mindfulness
Tone: vibrant, playful
Story Quality: There’s something really special about this story. It’s a celebration of sounds and human connection, and it calls for children to join in with the repetition of waking-up sounds followed by going-back-to sleep-sounds. It’s a really unique way to describe the experience of living in a city, but it’s one that many children (and their parents) will connect with. The story ends so sweetly with a sleepy mama’s heartbeat.
Illustrations: Gorgeous paper collage illustrations in vibrant colors.
Representation: Izzy, Rayhan, Benny, Cairo, Miles, and Natalia are all woken up in the Red Brick Building. Izzy is a Black baby with a Black mother. Rayhan has brown skin and black black hair; he, his mom, and his dad might be Indian or Pakistani. Benn, Cairo, and Miles are three boys having a sleepover; two of them are White and one has light brown skin and black hair. They have a White dad. Natalia appears to be White, and she has two mothers (one who looks White and one with light brown skin) and a little sister with light brown skin. All four families live in the Red Brick Building on a city street.
Psychological Practices: This book is such a lovely read for a child who is ever startled awake in the middle of the night by a loud noise. It models the activation that comes with this experience and then walks a child through the quieting down that follows. The book encourages a child to listen to the peaceful sounds of night (e.g., the quiet “shhhh shhhh” of a street sweeper, the “plonk plonk” of falling acords) as they fall back asleep. This is a type of mindfulness exercise–to close one’s eyes and concentrate on the sounds one hears, both close by (e.g., a heater blowing in a child’s room) and far away (e.g., car doors closing on the street). The repetition of the sounds in this story is really soothing and will likely help a child to fall back asleep, as well.
Concerns: None.

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