Schools often celebrate their annual ending with field day, assemblies, graduations, and parties – a two-week conclusionary hurrah. With or without the celebrations, it’s time to say goodbye.
Highlighting books that include sentimental hopes for future endeavors feels like a good way to close out this school year – books that substitute for the yearbook messages left unwritten.
Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld’s I Wish you More provides that feeling. From the summery outdoor pictures to the reference to “more hugs”, the illustrations bring the feeling of a pre-Covid 19 end of the school-year goodbye. The list of wishes include acknowledgement that success will require effort on the recipient’s part and that happiness requires occasional pauses to enjoy the joys of life.
Another children’s book that encourages students to grow into their best selves is Be You by Peter Reynolds. The cheerfully vibrant illustrations help convey attributes children need to develop into who they want to be. Reynolds goes beyond the traditional “be kind” message and includes instructions on how to be curious, persistent, and connected to others while also taking alone time to be alone.
As librarians we chose books like these that share messages we think the students need to hear. Christian Robinson’s perfectly timed new book answers his question, “What do I most want to say to young readers?” The answer is his title, You Matter.
Robinson’s belief that children need to see themselves when they read a book caused him to depict “as many different kids as possible” when he wrote and illustrated You Matter. Hearing him describe this philosophy four months ago highlights his sincere hope. https://vimeo.com/387817641
Many of the illustrations in You Matter do not depict children and caught me by surprise. For example, a dinosaur unable to scratch a mosquito bite, and the world needing to start over after a disaster are not the expected “warm and fuzzy” pictures found in a sentimental story book. However, these images fit his overall theme and add depth that might not be noticed by younger readers. This book really is written for everyone. And hopefully if you haven’t read You Matter yet, you will now feel so inspired.
If you have the means, now is the perfect time to add new books to your collections – local bookstores are beginning to open, and they need our support.