Everyone’s Awake

Book Cover of Everyone's Awake by Colin Meloy, illustrated by Shawn HarrisBuilding off of Alex’s post about children’s literacy and developing early literacy skills, I’d like to talk about a couple of my more recent forays into picture books and children’s literature and highlight some titles for children & adults alike!

I recently encountered this delightfully written galloping ride of a fever dream, scaled for the reader as a picture book! It’s Everyone’s Awake by Colin Meloy, illustrated by Shawn Harris, and I didn’t know this at the time, but the author, Colin Meloy, is the lead singer & songwriter of The Decemberists, and the musical romp of the prose makes a lot more sense knowing this! This is one of those books you almost can’t help but read aloud, and would make for a great storytime read.* The storyline, if it can be referred to as such, is as straightforward as it gets: everyone’s awake in the night when they should be sleeping, but obviously you’re not picking up a book called Everyone’s Awake just to find that out: it’s everything in between the quite simple story that makes this such an incredibly energetic book, whipped into even more of a frenzy with the incredible illustrations by Shawn Harris and – just look at that colour palette! The pages practically vibrate with energy and movement between the illustrations and the colours, words jumping off your lips faster than you can read them. And by the end (one would hope) you have tired yourself out with all that energy expended, ready to fall asleep.

*Granted it might be a little bit long for a program, you can definitely skip pages without it affecting the story.

Book Cover of The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie AndersonMy next recommendation is a chapter book that takes you on a magical journey through a snowy forest with a girl whose legs transform into bear legs: The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson. The folkloric atmosphere of the story combined with the stories within the story make for a compelling read, and although I’m willing to bet most of us haven’t had the experience of growing bear legs, Yanka’s experience of feeling different and removed from both the human village and the forest whence she came are very relatable, as are her biases and the lessons she learns about what it means to be strong – something we could all learn from.

Have you read any good children’s titles lately? Do you find you enjoy them differently as an adult, or do they retain the same magic as they did when you were a child?

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