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

[Saturday Reads] Transformative Nature of Finding Home and Community in 2017 Picturebooks by Female Creators

"City Moon" by Rachael Cole and Blanca Gomez | "Windows" by Julia Denos and E. B. Goodale.

SaturdayReads

Myra here.

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.


Windows

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.


City Moon

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.

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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).

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