#ReadIntl2020 Award-Winning Books Early Readers Features Genre It's Monday What Are You Reading Lifespan of a Reader Otherworldly Realms - Fantasia Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] Unlikely Friendships and The Grace Of Letting Go in Award-Winning Picturebooks from UK and Switzerland

"Little Bird" by Germano Zullo and Albertine | "The Fox And The Star" by Coralie Bickford-Smith.


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community. 

These two picturebooks share the same surreal, otherworldly quality to them with the unlikely friendship among creatures depicted so poignantly. Both are also heartwarming and beautiful. I am glad to be sharing them both with you during my birthday! 🙂 I turn 44 today!

The Fox And The Star [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written and Illustrated by Coralie Bickford-Smith
Published by Penguin (2016, first published 2015)
ISBN: 0141978899 (ISBN13: 9780141978895). Literary Award: Waterstones Book of the Year (2015). Borrowed from Zayed Central Library. Book photos taken by me. 

I have heard about this book a few years back, but never had a chance to read it. I was thrilled to find it in the library here in the UAE. This paperback version has a different cover from the hardbound one that I am familiar with. Perhaps this one is meant to appeal directly to a younger audience.

As the title suggests, the fox and the star share a special relationship. It was Star’s constancy that allowed the Fox to find the courage he needs to explore the dark forest. The Star’s presence was comforting and provided the space for Fox to grow into his own being.

But one day, the Star simply disappeared, which changed everything for Fox. His world was plummeted in darkness, and his entire life now revolves around finding the missing Star.

This is a poignant story that can be perceived as a brilliant metaphor on loss, grief, and finding that which is lost within one’s self.

Little Bird [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Germano Zullo Illustrated by Albertine
Published by Enchanted Lion Books (2012, first published 2010) Original Title: Les Oiseaux Literary Award: 2011 Prix Sorcieres for Illustration
ISBN: 1592701183 (ISBN13: 9781592701186). Borrowed from Zayed Central Library. Book photos taken by me.

I have been a fan of Swiss husband-and-wife tandem Germano Zullo and Albertine for quite awhile now. I reviewed their beautiful Line 135 (Amazon | Book Depository) here and Sky High (Amazon | Book Depository) here. This one did not disappoint as I once again immerse myself in Zullo’s poetic vision illuminated by the amazing artist, Albertine.

A man drives his red truck into the desert. When he reaches the very edge of a cliff, he stopped his truck, and opened the back door. First, one bird emerged, and then this gorgeous sight.

The text merely says that there are days which are different from others, days that have “something a little more” – especially since a stray bird refused to fly, unlike the rest of the flock that gleefully took to the skies.

The man’s feeble attempts to encourage the bird to fly were laughably absurd, but also deeply kind and totally un-self-conscious. As a reader, I felt privileged to witness this growing intimacy between the man and the bird that refused to fly.

Told in almost-wordless form, the “little things” that often go unnoticed, gradually are made more visible with a kind gesture, being present, and unexpected magic. This one is so beautiful, I literally hugged it close to me after reading it. Go and do yourself a favour, and find it. I hope you hug the book close to you as well after reading.

#ReadIntl2020 Update: 13 of 30 (country): Switzerland (Germano Zullo and Albertine are from Switzerland) | (language) book is translated from the French.

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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).

7 comments on “[Monday Reading] Unlikely Friendships and The Grace Of Letting Go in Award-Winning Picturebooks from UK and Switzerland

  1. lindabaie

    Both look beautiful, Myra, and my library has them! Thanks for sharing the ‘extra’ pages, too! Happy reading!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just love books like Little Bird with so few words, but contain so much story in the pictures. I’m going to have to hunt this one down. Thanks for sharing, Myra, and I hope you have a wonderful reading week!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks so much for sharing these beautiful books today. My library has both of them!! I only wish I had time to run off and read them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sarah Sammis

    Both of your picture books look delightful and are going onto my wishlist. My weekly update

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Wendi Lee

    Little Bird looks charming. Have a great reading week!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I stumbled upon Little Bird a few years ago when I was organizing the shelves at the bookstore. Lovely sweet story.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: [My 2020 in Books] Favourite Books Read in 2020 – Gathering Books

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