Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.
These two books do not overtly talk about womanity – but both are done by female creators – and demonstrate how a single walk around the neighbourhood can evoke a sense of familiarity and community.
Written by Julia Denos Illustrated by E. B. Goodale
Published by Candlewick Press (2017)
ISBN: 076369035X (ISBN13: 9780763690359) Borrowed from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me.
Told in simple and straightforward prose, a young child takes the dog out for a walk and notices the light fading from the skies, while electric lights are lit from inside the homes in the neighbourhood.
The story has a gentle and soothing tone, indicative of an environment that is free from strife, violence, or danger. If the faces from outside the windows are any indication, it also appears to be a multi-racial neighbourhood.
I also liked the thoughtfulness in which the art is considered, a perfect match to the lyrical, lilting quality of the text – evoking a sense of beauty and grace:
The emotion that I felt after I read the book was one of gratitude; that safe places such as these still exist, and that there is a waving and expectant face outside one’s window, welcoming one home.
Written by Rachael Cole Illustrated by Blanca Gomez
Published by Schwartz & Wade Books (2017)
ISBN: 0553497073 (ISBN13: 9780553497076). Literary Awards: Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Nominee for Writer (2018), CLEL Bell Picture Book Awards Nominee for Talk (2018). Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
Similar to the story above, a mother and her young child take a leisurely stroll around the neighbourhood in their jammies. It is not clear exactly where the father is in the picture, but it was a non-issue in the narrative, but worth pointing out.
As mother and child walk around, the youngling exclaims as the moon peeks out from behind buildings and clouds.
It is this sense of wonder and excitement over something so commonplace that moved me deeply, aside from the child’s heartfelt query about why other people do not seem to share this excitement at catching sight of something so glorious in the sky:
“Mama, why doesn’t everyone look?”
“They’re busy,” Mama tells me.
These two gentle books are reminders of the simple beauty around us and how we often take them for granted, lost in the busy-ness of … things. Yet this, right here, is a blessing. May we recognize and take notice.
#WomenReadWomen2019: Julia Denos, E. B. Goodale, and Rachael Cole are from the United States of America
Blanca Gomez is from Spain.