Books Early Readers Features Genre It's Monday What Are You Reading Joy and Peace in Literature Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] Hopeful Stories About Good People And The Bright Sunshine

"The Sun Shines Everywhere" by Mary Ann Hoberman and Luciano Lozano | "Most People" by Michael Leannah and illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris.


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. 

The Sun Shines Everywhere [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Mary Ann Hoberman Illustrations by Luciano Lozano
Published by Little Brown Books for Young Readers (2019)
ISBN: 0316523844 (ISBN13: 9780316523844) Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

Written in rhyming text, this is a joyful story about children living in Paris and Delhi, China and Rome, experiencing the sun in their faces, wherever they may be.

It is a light-hearted narrative depicting various cultural realities bound together by a similar experience of the sun being a constant in their lives, regardless of how varied each one’s environment may be. Most “multicultural” or global narratives have been traditionally packaged in this manner, depicting a common thread that runs across each person, notwithstanding one’s cultural identity.

There is also a recognition that there are certain places where the sun may not shine as much (see image above), which would be a good take-off point for discussion about various habitats – and the many things people take for granted. I am especially grateful that in all the places I live, I see the sun shining brightly 365 days a year.

At the very core of this book is the recognition of how much we all need the sun to survive – and that its presence is enough to make anyone smile and feel “glad to be alive!” I think we need this cheerful note more than ever.

Most People [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Michael Leannah Illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris
Published by Tilbury House Publishers (2017)
ISBN: 0884485544 (ISBN13: 9780884485544) Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

I read this picturebook when it first came out in 2017, and haven’t had a chance to feature it yet. Given all that is happening in the world today, I thought the hopeful and positive message in this book would resonate with you all.

It is a comforting read that expresses how “most people are very good people.” In the Author’s Note, Michael Leannah explained his reasons behind the creation of this story:

Young children hear adults talking, they see things on TV, and they’re sometimes left thinking that the world is a place full of dangers and bad feelings. As a father, grandfather, and longtime elementary school teacher, it pains me to witness children being overly fearful of the world – of the people in the world. Yes, children need to be careful of strangers, but they also need to know that most people are good, kind, and helpful, and one of the great delights in life is reinforcing that knowledge through our daily interactions with others.

I like how the narrative also acknowledges that there are also bad things that some people can do. It is not a hollow, superficial message devoid of truth. It simply tempers children’s expectations by surfacing the good that is out there, regardless of the bad that also undoubtedly exists.

I don’t know about you, but this is a message that I felt I needed to hear now. It gives me hope, and makes everything worthwhile.

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).

5 comments on “[Monday Reading] Hopeful Stories About Good People And The Bright Sunshine

  1. These look like great books for kids with really good messages! Great highlights! Hope you have a good week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The Sun Shines Everywhere really speaks to me since I am a big fan of the sun – it definitely makes me smile and always improves my mood. Unfortunately, where I live we aren’t getting much sun these days, but hopefully with the change in seasons in a month it will get better.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I wish the sun shone everyday where I live, but am happy to at least have daylight. The winter sky is often grey and overcast here where I now live. It does make those days when the sun does come out even more to celebrate though. I wish my library had a copy of Most People. I know that this is how it is, but sometimes those other people are very loud.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Completely Full Bookshelf

    As I read that last sentence about Most People, I felt a very slight urge to burst into tears! (Which I thankfully avoided.) But still, I can definitely see how a story like that would be valuable right now. The Sun Shines Everywhere sounds great as well. Thanks for your insightful reviews—I always appreciate them!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I also really appreciated the message of Most People, thanks for sharing that one!

    Liked by 1 person

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