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Author\illustrator Amal Karzai is the gold-medal winner of the 2020 Key Colors Competition USA—a biannual international competition for illustrators of children’s picture books, which results in publication for the winner.

On the front stoop of an apartment complex, a girl sits bored and restless. She asks her mother to take her to the library, but she’s told that maybe they’ll go later, the same answer she received the day before. 

Everything changes for the girl when a raven drops a ball and a stick—no ordinary objects!—on the sidewalk in front of her. When she looks into the ball, she sets out on a fantastical journey and encounters sea monsters and tumultuous waters, and in the distance, a large structure beckons—a magnificent, pillared library—a palace of books. The girl is dismayed when she arrives at the lofty building because the library is closed for a very important young elephant book conference. However, she overcomes her disappointment and, undaunted, makes a key from the ball and stick so she can unlock the library door. Inside, she explores the shelves of books, encounters cheerful elephants, and discovers and enters new worlds. Finally, she arrives back on her front porch, surrounded by a stack of books, content for the time being, yet looking forward to further adventures revealed between the covers of books. 

Amal Karzai’s playful narrative and her detailed, whimsical illustrations are a celebration of literacy and libraries. My Key invites young readers to come along on the girl’s serendipitous, playful jaunt, a delightful journey. (Clavis)

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