#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Award-Winning Books Early Readers Features Genre It's Monday What Are You Reading Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] LDR for Transnational Global Families in 2022 Picturebooks

"Olu and Greta" by Diana Ejaita | "See You Someday Soon" by Pat Zietlow Miller and Suzy Lee.

IMWAYR

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).

#DecolonizeBookshelves2022

For 2022, our reading theme is #DecolonizeBookshelves2022. Essentially, we hope to feature books that fit any of the following criteria:

  1. Postcolonial literature and/or [pre/post] revolutionary stories
  2. Stories by indigenous / first-nation peoples / people of colour
  3. Narratives of survival and healing, exile and migration, displacement and dispossession
  4. Books written or illustrated by people who have been colonized, oppressed, marginalized

Olu and Greta (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written and Illustrated by Diana Ejaita
Published by Rise X Penguin Workshop (2022)
ISBN: 0593384903 (ISBN13: 9780593384909) Borrowed via Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

This picturebook reminded me a great deal of Duncan Tonatiuh’s Dear Primo: A Letter To My Cousin (Amazon | Book Depository) about two cousins writing each other, one from Mexico and the other one from the US – except that instead of having US as the default base (like in most picturebooks), Diana Ejaita has shifted the readers’ mind-sets entirely with Olu coming from a city near Lagos, and Greta coming from Milan. Olu is from Nigeria while Greta is coming from Italy.

While they are not able to see each other face-to-face, the young reader sees that there are now a myriad of ways to get to know a cousin who lives on the other side of the world.

At turns playful and wistful, there is a clear sense of identity and place that can be discerned in Italian-Nigerian Diana Ejaita’s bold and bright figures. I would be sure to seek out any other picturebook that she publishes in the future. One interesting fact is that Diana Ejaita is now based in Germany – talk about a transnational artist, indeed.

What a wonderful reminder that our world grows smaller – even as it grows bigger – each day.


See You Someday Soon (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written by Pat Zietlow Miller Illustrator Suzy Lee
Published by Roaring Book Press (2022) ISBN: 1250221102 (ISBN13: 9781250221100) Borrowed via Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

Any new book by Suzy Lee is a cause for celebration, and so I let out a very unladylike squeal when I discovered this new title via Overdrive.

In this story, a young child is longing for a grandmother who is very far away. Similar to Olu and Greta, the two leverage on technology to ensure that they are still able to connect to each other despite the distance.

I feel that this title would take on an even greater emotional resonance with loved ones unable to physically visit each other over the past two years due to the pandemic. And who better to capture that affective essence but the inspirational Pat Zietlow Miller of Be Kind and When You Are Brave fame. There is yearning and excitement and the anticipation as both try to figure out from little details found in each other’s homes the many things that they miss and look forward to seeing again.

I feel that I am missing out a bit since I read this via Overdrive instead of actually physically touching the book that I can tell had been cleverly cut out in some parts (see the green screen above, for example) by the brilliant book engineer, Suzy Lee, who is unparalleled when it comes to seeing things in such a textured/layered perspective. See another one below.

Regardless, this is a beautiful story that has captured the spirit of all that we have missed these past two years. Make sure you go out and buy yourselves multiple copies of this clever and heartwarming book and give to loved ones while hugging them tight.


#DecolonizeBookshelves2022 Update: 91/92 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).

3 comments on “[Monday Reading] LDR for Transnational Global Families in 2022 Picturebooks

  1. Thanks for sharing Olu and Greta, Myra, is a new one to me, and the only hope is that I can find it! See You Someday Soon is delightful, wish I had had it for my own children whose grandparents lived so far away. Thanks for both. Wishing you a lovely week ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for both these books Myra. I too am a Suzy Lee fan. I went immediately to see if my library has this. Hurrah they do!

    Liked by 1 person

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