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Harbor Springs Festival of the Book / Saturday, September 29, 2019 / Friday, September 27 - Sunday, September 29
Harbor Springs, Michigan
Chappaqua Children’s Book Festival / Saturday, October 5, 2019 / 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
The simple verses beckon the attention to envelop the whole world, from the immediacy of one’s own sensorial surroundings — the ground, the Sun, the air, the stars — to the widening awareness of our shared belonging and our intertwined fates. Radiating from them is Einstein’s notion of “widening circles of compassion” and Dr. King’s immortal insistence that “we are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality.”
—Maria Popova, Brainpickings
In short, lyrical selections, McGhee invites young readers to listen, look, breathe, taste, and dig in the natural world, highlighting the ways in which sensory reflexes and experiences unite people: “Smell the air./ My air is yours and all of ours,/ your air is mine.” Other lines celebrate the elemental, communal connections that support life (“The food you eat/ is also the sun/ is also the rain”). In Lemaître’s art, a child wanders through a softly hued, scribbled landscape, listening to feet walking, viewing the stars; in a near-final spread, the child kneels, heart open and reverberating beyond the traditional physical senses (“Listen/ with your heart”). A thoughtful offering, expressed in subtle poetic tempo, about shared humanity and the nourishing world.
Everything is connected, from all the people in the world to Earth itself and the stars beyond. Readers are guided through an experiential journey in this book, being instructed to listen, feel, breathe, and look in order to take in everything around them. Each element, from the sound of one’s feet to the sun to the stars, is a part of a bigger whole while simultaneously belonging only to the reader. While the eyes can look and the ears can hear, it is the heart alone that has the power to comprehend everything: love is the key to an interconnected existence. Simple, poetic language builds the framework for this book, repeating words and phrases throughout. Readers of all ages will appreciate the lyrical beauty of the text, whether listening to it with others or enjoying it alone. Childlike illustrations reminiscent of Shel Silverstein are enhanced by beautiful, dulcet colors that saturate each page. Fans of books like Liz Scanlon’s All the World will love the similar message presented here about love and inclusion in a world that at times seems devoid of those sentiments. VERDICT Readers of all ages will love this poetic, gentle book about understanding and appreciating the universe for both its individual components and how they are intertwined with one another.
–Mary Lanni, formerly of Denver Public Library, School Library Journal