Books Early Readers Features Genre It's Monday What Are You Reading Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes The World In Books

[Monday Reading] 2019 Picturebooks That Make One Want to Fly and Glow Like The Sun

... thanks to Julie Fogliano.


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. 

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.

#ReadIntl2020 Update: Christian Robinson is a person of color.

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).

10 comments on “[Monday Reading] 2019 Picturebooks That Make One Want to Fly and Glow Like The Sun

  1. I live these books, too. What a great celebration.


  2. Just In Case You Want to Fly looks adorable!
    Here’s mine for the week!


  3. Well done with the reviews. I’ve reviewed a few picturebooks but I never really know what to say – the pictures are pretty? So I’m very impressed with your reviews.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Completely Full Bookshelf

    You make both these books sound so beautiful! They look excellent from the excerpts you include, and calling Fogliano the Mary Oliver of kidlit is definitely high praise! Thanks for spotlighting these two books!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lindabaie

    I still haven’t read Just in Case You Want to Fly, and need to! But I adore If I Was The Sunshine & purchased it! Thanks, Myra!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I too am a fan of Julie Fogliano. I adored If I was the Sunshine. I’ve added Just in Case You Want to Fly.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Jana Eschner

    I loved Just In Case You Want to Fly! Perfect escape for readers who are stuck at home these days. Thanks for sharing and have a terrific week!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I really enjoy Julie Fogliano and I loved both of these books. I have to agree on the childlike awe — and if memory serves, If I Was the Sunshine was also an especially large book. So it felt so easy to fall into those gorgeous illustrations. Thanks for sharing, Myra!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Pingback: [Monday Reading] When Comic Creators Write Picturebooks (Part 2 of 2) – Gathering Books

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

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