Books Crime, Thriller, Mysteries and Puzzles DiverseKidLit Early Readers Features Genre Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes

[DiverseKidLit] The Mysterious Nature of A Wordless Narrative

"I Walk With Vanessa" by Kerascoet.

Myra here.

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It has been fairly tough to look for titles that fit our reading theme that are meant for young children, and at the same time can be considered diverse kidlit. So I decided to just stretch out our theme somewhat by looking at the inherent mystery in a wordless picturebook, and unraveling its beautiful message here.

I Walk With Vanessa

Created by: Kerascoët Publisher: Schwartz & Wade Books (2018)
ISBN: 1524769568 (ISBN13: 9781524769567) 
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me. 


Told entirely without words, this visual narrative tells a powerful story about a young girl who has just recently moved into a new neighbourhood, and a new school, where everyone’s a virtual stranger. If the very thought is frightening for adults, imagine how worse it can be for a young girl.

As the reader follows the young girl, it becomes apparent that a young boy has said something mean to her. The wordless nature of the story with the expressive illustrations provides meaningful spaces for the young reader to share what they think transpired below, which might potentially give the adults some clues about what’s going on in the child’s field of experience.

What made the story work even more for me was how the young girl above who witnessed the entire incident felt as bad as our new girl, Vanessa.

She spoke about what transpired to her own friends, and she resolved to do something about it the next day, as she was on her way to school.

As an adult, I see here how easy it is to hurt another person through careless remarks or a deliberately-planted cruel word meant to wound someone. Yet, it is also easy to knock on another person’s door, greet someone with a smile, and make her feel welcome by walking with her to school. And this ripple of kindness extends far and wide, until it spreads further and further out.

While hopeful and optimistic, the story also felt real and true. It is simple yet never simplistic, but merely invites positive energies, good cheer, and the quiet faith that one can do something good in the world. This is a new favourite.

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#LitWorld2018GB Update: Kerascoet stands for the husband and wife team from France: Marie Pommepuy and Sébastien Cosset.

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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).

1 comment on “[DiverseKidLit] The Mysterious Nature of A Wordless Narrative

  1. Such a sweet book. Great illustrations and a lovely use of white space really makes this book shine!

    Liked by 1 person

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