2016 in [Book] Review Books International It's Monday What Are You Reading Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] Three Outstanding International 2016 Picturebooks from Japan, Spain, and Germany


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.


There are quite a number of really wonderful international picturebook titles published in 2016. Consider this part one of many that I will be sharing in the coming weeks.

img_9126Chirri & Chirra

Written and Illustrated by: Kaya Doi Translated by: Yuki Kaneko
Published by: Enchanted Lion Books, 2016 ISBN: 159270199X (ISBN13: 9781592701995)
Borrowed a copy from Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me. 

I really don’t know what is it about this book that appealed to me so, but it just did. It could be the bright green colours that reminded me of rural life, the forest, the simple beauty of nature:


or it could also be the typography and the cute speech bubbles for anyone who’s saying anything:


Or perhaps it’s really just the leisurely biking through the forest, playing in the water, napping under a big tree, or the luscious coffee and tea – I mean who could possibly resist a cup of acorn coffee…


… with the rest of the day culminating in a joyful forest concert. This picturebook is a quiet reminder of a life that people can still choose to have, if they want it. The greens and the trees have always been there, it’s just that we’ve all been so distracted with so much white noise that we fail to see the natural beauty around us.

Strong As A Bearimg_9138

Written and Illustrated by: Katrin Stangl
Published by: Enchanted Lion Books, 2016 ISBN: 1592701981 (ISBN13: 9781592701988)
Borrowed a copy from Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me. 

Originally published in German, this is a beautiful picturebook that introduces young readers to simile; yet it manages to do it in such a fun way, as told from a child’s perspective.


The bright colours reminded me a little bit of Vera Williams in More, More, More except that this one doesn’t really have a full storyline. Each page (as can be seen above) only contains a caption that describes the image in the form of a simile. While it looks deceptively simple, it made me wonder exactly how many picturebooks do this sort of thing and truly succeeded in its execution – absolutely none that I could think of, off the top of my head.


I also like how it included trite aphorisms such as these, introducing the phrase to young readers who would most likely be “curious as a cat” about them. Definitely one title you should add to your collection.

img_9133The Day I Became A Bird

Written by: Ingrid Chabbert Illustrated by: Raul Nieto Guridi
Published by: Kids Can Press, 2016 ISBN13: 9781771386210
Borrowed a copy from Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me. 

Now this is a book to fall deeply in love with. A young boy is smitten by this young girl who has a thing for birds.


She seems to have eyes only for those flying creatures in the skies that our young protagonist has taken it upon himself to be just like them.


This act is so out there, so fearless, so simple and true that it made me sigh “awww” so audibly, you can hear it from across the room. It also reminded me of Fernando Krahn’s wordless Little Love Story:

Click on the image to be taken to my review of the book.

… leading me to think that love stories for children can only be written so beautifully and adeptly by Chilean and Spanish authors/artists.


This scene above just about tore my heart to pieces. Find this book and fall in love all over again.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

16 comments on “[Monday Reading] Three Outstanding International 2016 Picturebooks from Japan, Spain, and Germany

  1. When I looked at the images from Chirri & Chirra, I was reminded of Crow Boy by Tarō Yashima. I wonder if Kaya Doi was influenced by Yashima. I am green with envy that you have read The Day I Became A Bird. After reading The Last Tree by this team last week I put it on hold at my local library. It is interesting how these images are so very different.


  2. Little Love Story looks good! I hope you enjoy your books this week.

    My It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? post.


  3. The Day I Became a Bird is so cute – I do have a soft spot for them 🙂


  4. I love the illustrations in Chirri and Chirra. I just want to go ride my bike through that forest! I love the message. The Day I Became a Bird looks really sweet.


  5. All look wonderful, and I would not have discovered them without your reviews, Myra. Thank you!


  6. I am so intrigued by the beautiful and simple illustrations of the books you’ve shared. Sadly, they are not available in my library system.
    Thanks for sharing!


  7. I loved the book The Day I Became a Bird! It was so sweet. I definitely want to check out the other books on your list. Have a wonderful week!


  8. Love this entry of international picture books! Now I need to add a few of these to our school library; what a great way to increase diversity with a global view!


  9. crbrunelle

    Chirri and Chirra is very sweet. I found it to be a nostalgia type of book. It may work well with children, but is likely to be loved even more by adults because it has old-fashioned illustrations.


  10. Just the enchanting illustrations would draw me to Chirri and Chirra! Thanks for sharing yet another set of new to me picture books, Myra.


  11. The illustrations in The Day I Became a Bird look really great to me. The other two do as well. Thanks for sharing these.


  12. I had no interest in reading The Day I Became a Bird but with your review, I’m intrigued. Thanks for sharing!


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