#SurvivalStories2021 Books Books by Region Early Readers Features Genre International Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes Saturday Reads

[Saturday Reads] Have We Become Aliens Unto Ourselves?

"Alien Nation" by Sandro Bassi.


Myra here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.

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Alien Nation (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written and Illustrated by Sandro Bassi Publisher: Levine Querido (2021) ISBN: 9781646140381 (ISBN10: 1646140389). Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

When the world changed drastically last year, requiring most everyone to stay at home, dependent on their wifi, computers, mobile devices, television for entertainment – one can go as far as claim that there was a definitive shift in people’s consciousness.

There were, of course, those who opted out of technological means of amusing themselves – some read, others played music (or learned how to play a new instrument), several became aspiring gardeners or bakers or yogis. Yet, one has to acknowledge that this over-reliance on mobile devices has been going on even before the pandemic started, and may have even been exacerbated by people’s physical disconnection from everything familiar, confined to the four walls of their homes.

Enter Sandro Bassi’s 2021 translated picturebook.


Done completely in wordless black and white visual narrative, it is an allegorical tale of creatures consumed by their devices. It appears like every breathing, walking, talking moment is wrapped up in whatever it is that is going on in these little screens.


This book reminded me of another black-and-white wordless allegorical tale that I have just reviewed here a few weeks back: Belgian Peter Van den Ende’s The Wanderer (Amazon | Book Depository). Although that one explores an entirely different theme altogether, the style and wordless nature of the storytelling struck me as strikingly similar.


There is much that can be extrapolated and discussed in this complex and multi-layered picturebook. It goes beyond a cautionary, didactic story – but more like providing the reader with a mirror of life as we go through it now.

It also made me reflect on what the picture of existence would be like post-pandemic, once we have survived all this (with divine providence and if the universe wills it). Have we, indeed, become, aliens unto ourselves – paradoxically connected while also utterly disconnected from everything and everyone, including one’s self?

#SurvivalStories2021 Update: 67 out of target 100

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).

1 comment on “[Saturday Reads] Have We Become Aliens Unto Ourselves?

  1. Completely Full Bookshelf

    This sounds like an excellent read! I think we’ve all become pretty glued to our screens lately (I’m glued to mine commenting on blogs right now), so books like this are likely a good reminder to get away from our devices. And the surrealist art is very intriguing as well! Thanks so much for the thoughtful review!

    Liked by 1 person

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