Being in touch with so many talented writers online, the list of books I want to collect is usually quite long. Every once in a while, I like to splurge and add new books to my writing library. From the minute they are mine, I am like an excited child at story time, eager to find a seat in the circle; cross-legged, eyes fixed, with great anticipation of where the books will take me.
Yesterday, two books I had been hearing about arrived. As I opened the box, a great smile arose and I stopped everything to find my seat and take in the feel and sight of them. The forty minutes I spent slowly savoring each page brought a stillness and hopefulness that has been hard for me to find, of late. As I closed the last page of the second book, I was peaceful, relaxed. This is the power of picture books: they can touch your very heart.
Waking up this morning, I found them calling to me again. I flipped through the pages and noticed some commonality between the two that I thought I would share.
The books both begin with end papers that do what end papers are supposed to do.
They give us a delicious small bite of the feast ahead to tickle our palate; a lovely collection of the simple things in life to be grateful for.
I was immediately intrigued, anticipating what was about to unfold as I read.
The similarity of some spreads, with a lovely colorful image of nature on one page,
and simple text placed on the other. This format allowing the reader to read... to breathe.... and then savor the art, discovering little surprises like a lady bug along the way.
The exquisitely beautiful language that Sophie Blackhall and Carter Higgins use;
says so much in so few words.
They draw me in to such tender emotions, and both make me pause with a sigh.
I aspire to write like this.
Two page spreads that take you right there.
I could feel the rush of wind and chatter of birds in flight and then the spitting and crackle of a smoky camp fire, while breathing in the grandeur above.
Moments to stop and open a gift ... or not.
The back gives us a similar invitation to pause...
to notice the big and small
and in between things that are such blessings.
Both books are published by Chronicle Books.
They do an incredible and creative job on their books.
The choice of the jacket-less cover and unique binding is very tactile, and gives them the feel of an old loved book that has sat on a library shelf for years.
I aspire to have one of my manuscripts published by them one day.
I can only imagine what they might bring to my words.
I cannot recommend these books enough.
I will share them with my grandchildren to foster much needed conversation about the blessings all around us. And I am already thinking about who needs their message of hope and positivity in their life. These copies have now found their forever home on the end table near my favorite spot to read, as an ever present invitation to stop, to read and breathe in their hopefulness.
Well done, Sophie, Carter and Daniel.