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.
While these picturebooks do not ostensibly talk about the world in books – their magic makes any reader want to fall into the world of books. Julie Fogliano has a way with words, inviting the reader into the pages, and empowering them to shine like the sun and fly into the skies.
Just In Case You Want To Fly [Amazon | Book Depository]
Written by Julie Fogliano Illustrated by Christian Robinson
Published by Neal Porter Books (2019)
ISBN: 0823443442 (ISBN13: 9780823443444). Borrowed from Singapore National Library Board Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.
Told in rhyming text, this quiet pictureboook serves as a how-to, a manual of sorts – for any young reader who wishes to fly.
The entire premise of flight was not at all questioned. In fact, the narrator (possibly a starry-eyed parent or a teacher or any caregiver) assumes that flying is a given, and proceeds to “pack” the child’s makeshift, invisible, unspoken-of-backpack with some wind, sky, a cherry (for when the child gets hungry), or a coin for wishing.
I especially loved the image above – indicative of the read-aloud, ding-ding-ding quality of this book, its subtle portrayal of diversity that is not even included in the text, just embedded snugly in the interstices of the narrative like the many-feathered wings of its pages. Beautifully illustrated in the usual sparse way of Christian Robinson, the art effectively adds another layer of complexity to the story.
Deceptively simple, it is a powerful message of unbridled encouragement that is not condescending, a with-it-ness shared with the child that goes beyond being ‘supportive’ – but rather providing a certain flavour of magic, a touch of whimsy that perceives flight as a matter-of-fact, an enterprise that is perfectly simple and doable, with an X marking the spot for when one comes back home. A gorgeous picturebook that becomes even better with every re-read.
If I Was The Sunshine [Amazon | Book Depository]
Written by Julie Fogliano Illustrated by Loren Long
Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers (2019)
ISBN: 1481472445 (ISBN13: 9781481472449). Borrowed from Singapore’s National Library Board Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.
I first fell in love with Julie Fogliano with her If You Want To See A Whale illustrated by Erin E. Stead (Amazon | Book Depository) – see my review here; and her And Then It’s Spring (Amazon | Book Depository) – see my review here. There is a gentle, lulling, quiet whisper in her turns of phrase that affect me viscerally, pretty much the way Mary Oliver does with her poetry – which makes me regard Julie Fogliano as the Mary Oliver of kidlit.
There is an intimacy in the verses here, with the constant “if you were.. and i was…” accompanied by such powerful imagery illuminated so effectively by the unparalleled Loren Long.
It’s like every page has a sigh, an exhalation, an unexpected gasp that tilts one’s world a bit, allowing the reader to glimpse a different world of beauty, longing, and glowing fireflies.
I have read this book countless of times by now, and each time I feel like my heart is caught in my throat. There is childlike awe here, something devastatingly brilliant, filled with moonshine. Find this book and hold it close to your heart.