#WomenReadWomen2019 Books Early Readers Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes Warrior Women and Social Justice

Inspirational Picturebooks by American Female Creators Encouraging Young Readers to Defy the Odds and Keep on Keeping On

"Sometimes You Fly" and "Wherever You Go."

Myra here.

I chanced upon these two picturebooks with uplifting, inspirational messages a few weeks ago. I realized that messages defying the odds and encouraging the reader to keep on keeping on – still fit our current reading theme, so here they are.

Wherever You Go

Written by Pat Zietlow Miller Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler
Published by Little Brown Books For Young Readers (2015).
ISBN: 0316400025 (ISBN13: 9780316400022). Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

The book begins with the main character looking out the window and feeling the need for a journey, an adventure. When it is time to go somewhere else, one feels it in one’s bones.

The narrative follows an interesting format, starting with Roads… go, followed later on with Roads… zoom, and so forth. It has that lyrical quality to it matched by evocative artwork that shows the adventurer’s simplicity and wide-eyed wonder.

I also appreciated the emphasis on volition: that one has a choice of either staying or leaving. While life isn’t always that simple, too many factors impinging on one’s decision-making process, this idea was still reassuring – reducing life to its barest, most important details.

Sometimes You Fly

Written by Katherine Applegate Illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt
Published by Clarion Books (2018).
ISBN: 0547633904 (ISBN13: 9780547633909)Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

This beautifully illustrated picturebook traces the trajectory of a young child from infancy to major life events – indicating the events that come before specific pivotal moments in one’s life: from walking to building blocks to making friends to learning how to drive.

It has a very simple premise, with a seemingly-overwrought message, but it was packaged so differently, conveying the sentiment backwards that it worked so effectively.

I also appreciated how realistic the story is: intimating the inevitability of failures, hurts, struggles. Yet, it remains empowering and hopeful – contributing to fortitude and renewal of strength.

There is also a pretty explicit reminder of what we take from life’s journey. What is pretty remarkable about this book is how such a seemingly didactic and heavy handed message is communicated in a way that is comforting, like eating one’s cake. These two are perfect book gifts for the young readers in your life.

#WomenReadWomen2019: Country – United States of America (for all book creators)

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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).

2 comments on “Inspirational Picturebooks by American Female Creators Encouraging Young Readers to Defy the Odds and Keep on Keeping On

  1. Pingback: More Inspirational and Empowering 2018/2019 Picturebooks by Female Creators – Gathering Books

  2. Pingback: [Saturday Reads] On Being Brave While Being Small In The City – Gathering Books

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