#WomenReadWomen2019 Books Early Readers Genre Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes Reinventing Womanity, Redefining Womanhood

Moving Houses, Making Friends, And The Saving Power Of Young Girls’ Imagination

"Ella Who?" by Linda Ashman and Sara Sanchez | "Wallpaper" by Thao Lam.

Myra here.

We have featured quite a number of picturebooks previously that deal with transition or children moving from one place to another (see here). These two stories depict two young girls who have just moved into their new home and the little (or semi-gigantic) things that made them adjust to unfamiliar surroundings. It has been said previously that moving houses is akin to starting anew, perfect opportunity to reinvent one’s self.

Ella Who?

Written by Linda Ashman Illustrated by Sara Sanchez
Published by Sterling Children’s Books (2017)
ISBN: 1454919043 (ISBN13: 9781454919049). Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Buy Ella Who? on Amazon | Book Depository

This is a hilarious, cleverly-conceived picturebook about a young girl who announced to her mother, as they were unpacking, with movers all over their new house, that:

There’s an elephant in the living room.

Like most adults, heaven bless their oblivious, busy souls, the mother thought the girl was talking about Ella from next door, while father asked Ella Who? but to please check on the crying baby on their way up.

The story reminded me so much of The Shrinking of Treehorn by Florence Parry Heide and Edward Gorey and even Neil Gaiman’s The Day I Swapped My Dad For Two Goldfish illustrated by Dave McKean – with children taking agency while the adults seem completely clueless about what is truly going on around them.

Whether there is truly an elephant, Ella or otherwise, I shall leave for you to discover. A truly witty and inventive story that will not fail to tug at one’s heartstrings.


Written and Illustrated by Thao Lam
Published by Owlkids (2018)
ISBN: 1771472839 (ISBN13: 9781771472838). Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

Buy Wallpaper on Amazon | Book Depository

This is a largely wordless picturebook of a young girl moving to a new home with her family. As she was arranging the boxes in her new room, she glimpses from her window a group of young children in a tree house just across her room:

While they seemed friendly enough, waving when they noticed her, she seemed overwhelmed by this and retreated into herself, taking comfort in the peeling wallpaper that she accidentally noticed as she hunkered down:

Reminiscent of Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, Mina’s White Canvas by Hyeon-Ju Lee (see my review here), Jeremy Draws A Monster by Peter McCarty (see my review here) and even the Journey series by Aaron Becker (see my review here) – this is a touching story of a young girl who has given birth to the birds and beasts of her imagination.

The young girl’s capacity to find sanctuary in the wildness of her mind provided her with the courage that she needed to find her voice, reach out, and eventually say hello.

#WomenReadWomen2019: Linda Ashman is from the US, Sara Sanchez is from Spain

Thao Lam is from Canada.

Free Delivery on all Books at the Book Depository


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 “Moving Houses, Making Friends, And The Saving Power Of Young Girls’ Imagination

  1. Pingback: PPBF – Wallpaper | Wander, Ponder, Write

  2. Pingback: Perfect Pairing – of Picture Books about New Homes | Wander, Ponder, Write

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