Shop local where you can: For Australian readers, you can find this book on Booktopia, or support your local independent bookstore. US readers, check out Bookshop.org.
Title: Eyes that kiss in the corners
Author: Joanna Ho
Illustrator: Dung Ho
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Asian representation. Diversity and acceptance.
Title: I am every good thing
Author: Derrick Barnes
Illustrator: Gordon C James
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Black excellence.
Title: I am perfectly designed
Author: Karamo Brown
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Family. Self esteem.
Eyes That Kiss in the Corners a love story to family connections and to celebrating oneself. A young girl notices her eyes are different to her friends … but her eyes kiss in the corners and shine glow like warm tea, crinkle like crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future. It’s a beautiful book, and one is highly recommend.
I Am Every Good Thing is a powerful celebration of Black boyhood, of all the amazing features that make each individual special and unique and wonderful. Stunning artwork, and a powerful emphasis on the importance of recognising your place in the community of strong men who have come before you.
And continuing the theme of “books which celebrate YOU”, I am Perfectly Designed. Super sweet illustrations with a diverse range of skin colours represented, it tells the story of a conversation between a father and son reminiscing on their past experiences together, and about how perfectly designed they are for each other and for the role they play in the world. So lovely, it’s be a wonderful text to read with someone you love to remind them how special they are.
Author: Kelly DiPucchio
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Fantasy. Exploration
Title: Ernest the Elephant
Author: Anthony Browne
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Exploration. Family.
Title: Small in the city
Author: Sydney Smith
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Isolation. City life.
Oona is a fabulous mermaid with an appetite for adventure, by @kellydipucchio and @rizzyfig. She spends her time treasure hunting with her pal Otto, and she’s got her eye on a particularly sparkly treasure, but it lurks too far down in the deep for her to reach. Does she look like that’s going to stop her, though? I adore this book, and I’m always enthralled by illustrations that are obviously 2d but convey such a sense of movement and life. This is a gem!
The Shape Game by Anthony Browne is one of my favourite picture books to teach, so when I saw Ernest the Elephant I knew I’d be adding it to my pile. Ernest is on a trek with his family when he spots the forest, and despite warnings from his mother, he decides to go exploring … but of course he gets lost! Vibrant, engaging, and as full of life and hidden adventures as you would expect from this master artist.
Small in the City, by Sydney Smith. Wow. It’s hard to capture in a brief description what this book is about, because the deceptively simple narrative about being lost in the city is so multilayered and complex. It’s visually stunning, and lends itself to a number of rereadings as you get lost alongside our protagonist. This could definitely be a favourite for the year.
I didn’t select these three books to be posted together for any particular reason, but now I’m realising that they all have the overarching theme of finding your way in your world as someone small – in the ocean, forest or city, there’s always a place for the littlest of us. If you’re after a book for a little person in your life, you can’t go wrong with any of these, but I’d perhaps recommend Smith’s as suitable for older readers as well. It’s be a great text for visual analysis in an upper primary context I think!
Title: Where the heart is
Author: Irma Gold
Genre/ issues: Picture books. True story. Environment.
Author: Pete Oswald
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Worldless. Family.
Title: Leilong the library bus
Author: Julia Liu
Illustrator: Bei Lynn
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Libraries. Stories.
Title: The art of words
Author: Robert Vescio
Illustrator: Joanna Bartel
Genre/ issues: Picture books. Words and language.
Where The Heart Is, by @irma.gold and @oh.susannah.illustration is the beautiful story of Bindim, a young penguin who washes up on the beach in Brazil and is rescued by Joao who nursed him back to health. Based on a true story, it’s a lovely celebration of the power of friendship, and it’s so beautifully illustrated!
Hike by @peteoswald follows a father and son on a hike. Almost completely wordless apart from some onomatopoeiaic words, it’s utterly lovely, displaying both the beauty of nature and of the bond between parent and child. Stunning.
I can’t resist a picture book about libraries. A dinosaur library book? Hell yes! Leilong the Library Bus by Julia Liu and Bei Lynn sees Leilong try to join his friends at Storytime – but he doesn’t have a library card and is too big to successfully follow the rules! A super cute book which emphasises that libraries are for everyone.
The Art of Words by Robert Vescio and Joanna Bartel is my favourite kind of book – one that celebrates the magic and power of words, with a nod to the important role that punctuation can play in how we engage with words. An absolute gem.
#TamaraReads #2021readingchallenge 85-94/2021