Lately, I find myself reading picture books as a change from all those word-heavy pages and because I love the artwork. The first book was one I read about on Vasilly’s blog at 1330v, it is on her list for Herding Cats II.
This is one of the most beautiful picture books I’ve seen in a long time, and there is no color here. I wish it had been published when I was an adolescent as I spent many hours trying to describe color to my dear friend Henry, who was blind from birth. It was impossible but we spent afterneens laughing about it.
The text is clear and simple and written in braille along with typeface. The illustrations are textures embossed on ink black pages. A sighted reader must read the book tactilely, the way a blind person would. It will expand your or a child’s universe, and offers a starting point for discussions on different ways of experiencing the world.
The House in the Night by Susan Marie Swanson and Beth Krommes, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 2008. The winner of the 2009 Caldecott Medal.
When I first saw the scratchboard artwork in The House in the Night it reminded me of the art in Wanda Gag’s Millions of Cats, but this is a very different book. Krommes, the illustrator, adds yellow to deep black and the soft color brings comfort. Light and warmth glow in the dark night. Simple phrases and objects, a bed, a book , a bird, lead up and out into a glorious star-filled sky and then back again to the security of a child’s bed. She is surrounded by the things she loves and those who love her. She is safe.
A beautiful, comforting story for children and adults.
A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams by Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2008. A 2009 Caldecott Honor book.
First, let me say that William Carlos Williams is one of my favorite American poets. I am awed by his life and his work. This book is an lovely introduction to his life for the young reader or for any adult who enjoys picture books. The layering of colors and mixed-media collage blend with the text to illustrate important events and there are examples of his work at the end of the book.
A River of Words is the celebration of a man who chose earn a living being a doctor and caring for others and also found the time to follow his desire to be a poet.
The House in the Night
A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams