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.
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.
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)