#ReadIntl2020 Books Early Readers Genre Lifespan of a Reader Middle Grade Picture Books Poetry Poetry Friday Reading Themes

[Poetry Friday] Delicious Brown in Picturebook Verse

.. in "Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration" by Samara Cole Doyon and Kaylani Juanita.

Myra here.

Thank you to Reflections on the Teche for hosting this week.

We are halfway through our Year of International Literature theme (#ReadIntl2020). See here for my progress, thus far. It is important to note, though, that we are not just focusing on translated literature, we are also featuring books written or illustrated by people of colour. And this book below is a perfect example of that, most importantly it is written in verse! Yay!

Magnificent Homespun Brown: A Celebration (Amazon | Book Depository)

Poetry by: Samara Cole Doyon Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita
Published by Tilbury House Publishers (2020)
ISBN: 0884487970 (ISBN13: 9780884487975). Borrowed via NLB Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

This picturebook written in verse is, as the title says, a celebration of one’s ethnicity, family bonds, and sense of community. As the poet-author, Samara Cole Doyon, noted in the Afterword:

This poem began as a deeply personal reflection, a kind of prayer for my own children, and children like them, who are multilayered in their racial/ethnic heritage and sometimes feel as painfully out of place as I once did.

I have read a few Goodreads post saying that this is a book meant for adults but packaged erroneously for children. I feel very strongly that beautiful and moving books should not ostensibly target children and what we as adults assume to be their sensibilities. I feel that we are doing children a huge disservice when we claim that they will immediately dismiss books like this with multi-syllabic words like iridescent or beleaguered. 

Take for instance, this poetry found in the beautiful image below:

While it can be argued that children may not appreciate the multi-layered nature of the poetic narrative nor its complexity rooted in social justice and systems of oppression – there is still beauty here – both in the cadence of the language, and the exquisiteness of the art – that would resonate deeply, and make one yearn to know more. I believe that it is this yearning that is often overlooked by well-meaning parents or teachers who act as stringent gatekeeper for picturebooks they feel are “meant” for adults, and not children.

I personally feel, however, that stories like these are meant for everyone, and best ready with a comfortable cup of liquid dreams | sliding lazily over contented lips.”

Which poetic verse did you like best in the images shared above?


#ReadIntl2020 Update: Both author and illustrator are people of colour from the US.

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).

8 comments on “[Poetry Friday] Delicious Brown in Picturebook Verse

  1. I agree with you. As a librarian, I love to share picture books with all grade levels. They offer such a wonderful opportunity to discuss not only the topic, but also the artwork and often times, rich vocabulary.


  2. margaretsmn

    This is a lovely book full of wonderful, lyrical language appropriate for all ages. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Yum! Thank you for the introduction to this book – a buffet of robust vocabulary and glorious illustrations. I hope it is devoured by readers of all ages. And I will never look at or experience hot cocoa in the same way again. ; )

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed all of them and the evocative language. I especially like the image in the last poem, of the family together on the sofa during a winter storm. The illustrations are warm and inviting. Thank you for sharing this!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lindabaie

    It looks wonderful & is just right for every age, I agree, Myra.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. My favorite was the hot cocoa one. They’re all beautiful, but I like the slightly less flowery language of that one, and it’s such wonderful imagery and language that I (and a child) can connect immediately to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: [Poetry Friday] What Makes Another “Just Like Me” in Picturebook Verse – Gathering Books

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

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