In every person's life there comes a time when your spirits dip. You are faced with a situation in which your courage and comfort are challenged. You need to dig deep in your mind and heart and find your inner strength. You need to remember your talents and your achievements. For those who are younger, this is not always easily accomplished.
Two recently published titles offer the means for boosting your beliefs in your abilities in any given circumstance. The first, When You Need Wings (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing Division, March 3, 2020) written and illustrated by Lita Judge helps your imagination to soar to new heights. These heights reach out to hope.
On a day when you feel
like no one is listening,
and everyone is LOUD,
and you are afraid,
and you wish you could just disappear,
shut your eyes and listen.
You will hear something extraordinary. It's not the rhythmic thumping of your heart. No, it's something you might not know you have. It's your wings, your inside wings.
No one but you know they are there, stored within your essence. You can use those wings to leave and to seek. They will assist you in discovering riches within yourself.
These riches help your soul to find joy. This joy will send you a song, a song to help you dance. You will not be alone in this joy. There are friends here, residing in this bliss.
It's important to keep listening. Your wings are waiting just for you. With them, you will soar.
Many times, when faced with a position you would rather avoid, your heart rate increases. To have Lita Judge ask readers to listen to this and describe it as
your very own wings, beating within
is sheer genius. When she expands on this idea with a suggestion of flying away to the wonderful world of imagining, we realize she is showing us the path to finding our own personal solace and bravery. The thoughts expressed in her ten sentences are encouraging but leave room for her glorious illustrations to expand our vision. These ten sentences are carefully placed page turn by page turn to provide expert pacing. Here are two portions of a single sentence.
and use them . . . to fly far away,
if you need to today,
When you open the dust jacket you can see the white birds frame the feature on the front, right, as well as the back, left. The little girl with closed eyes and outstretched arms is clearly deep in thought. Her smile indicates happiness at what her mind is supplying her. The bird in the lower left-hand corner crosses the spine to the left. This bird and three others along with the title text are varnished.
To the left, the girl and her imaginary tiger friend are roaring with gusto and facing right. In a lightened portion to the right of them, two of Lita Judge's previous books are highlighted. Praises are listed for Red Sled and Flight School.
On the book case with a canvas of the palest cream and lavender white birds in a variety of perspectives fly from left to right. The opening and closing endpapers are a delicate hue of blue. Five pages, three single-page pictures and one double-page picture begin the narrative without words prior to the title page, another double-page picture. They tell the tale of a little girl leaving home and walking with her father to preschool.
In each of the subsequent illustrations, varying in size from double-page pictures to single-page images, framed or edge to edge, we are transported into a world of wonder as this little girl explores her potential and finds her fearlessness. The depictions of the children and their animal counterparts are jubilant and endearing. Their facial features, clothing and backpacks are pure delight.
The attention to detail in every scene by Lita Judge draws readers into the written and visual narrative. We glide on air to particular places; we gaze in fascination and play with abandon. We feel the freedom of finding our wings.
One of my many, many favorite illustrations spans two pages. A flock of white birds fills the air near the girl who is also in flight. Movement is shown in her hair, scarf, spread arms and trailing legs. They sail above treetops over a forest. Below, in the forest, golden light spills from the tiny windows in tiny homes. The colors used in the sky and forest are more subdued, but the girl's clothing is bright and cheerful as shown on the front of the dust jacket.
To know, to believe, you can close your eyes and find a beating center, is empowering. When You Need Wings written and illustrated by Lita Judge is a guide to this wondrous wealth within us. This is a book to be read often and widely. This is a book you will want to have on your personal and professional bookshelves.
To learn more about Lita Judge and her other work, please follow the link attached to her name to access her website. Lita Judge has accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. At the publisher's website you can view interior images. Please enjoy the following videos.
The second book, Be You! (Orchard Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., March 3, 2020) written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, is a motivational manual for walking through the ups and downs life delivers. Every statement is a shout to lift you up. Every page turn will elevate your tenacity.
You were born to
so many things.
Of those many things you were born to be, the narrator's desire is for you to be exactly who you are. You are advised to be ready to embrace whatever path is laid before you. You are told to investigate and seek answers.
There will come a time when an opportunity presents itself to you. Fear not and walk where you have not walked before. You are reminded to surround yourself with people you know love you as you are.
Regardless of the adversity you face, go through it. Don't end your endeavors. Celebrate those things which make you uniquely you. There is no shame in this. Choose compassion so others can be themselves. If there is something you fear, ask yourself why; then try.
Before you follow or join, think. Bravely go the right way for you. Pursue peace, the peace of pausing in being alone. Sometimes reaching a goal takes longer than you imagine. Sometimes reaching a goal requires assistance. Wherever you go and whatever you do, go with the knowledge you are sustained by affection, the affection of every connection you've ever made.
From beginning to end the words of Peter H. Reynolds are like sunshine for your soul. He begins and ends this book with the same declaration, bringing readers full circle. He not only wants you to be you, but he tells you how to realize who you are. Single phrases preceded by
are followed with a more complete explanation of the request. Here is a two-page passage.
Be your own thinker.
Think for yourself and
set your own unique course.
It isn't always easy
but you'll be heading
in the direction of YOU.
When you look at the open dust jacket of this book, the sky-blue canvas mirrors the endless sky, full of possibilities, above our Earth. The child in the boat on the front, held aloft with balloons with hearts, is a symbol of a potent statement found in the book near the end. Love does indeed lift us up. The clouds and golden wishes streaming from the boat cross the spine to the left edge of the back. A single balloon drifts upward. Beneath it are the words:
Live a big life!
Many of the elements on the front and back of the dust jacket are varnished.
The book case, also in sky blue has the golden wishes spreading in a gentle wave from center left to the bow of the boat. Now the child in the boat is higher on the right and closer to the right edge. The opening and closing endpapers use the yellow orange color from the balloons as a background. In a lighter shade are written words describing what you can be. Peter H. Reynolds has placed a framed space in both sets; the first for your own writing and the second saying:
Be the best version of you.
Each day is
a new chance to
be more you.
---Peter Hamilton Reynolds
On the title page the frame is held in the hands of the boat occupant in front of their face as they run, eyes closed across the page. In his signature style Peter H. Reynolds presents all kinds of children on the left beneath his declarative statement. On the opposite side in a variety of solid colors is his guiding text. At times the image on the left will extend to the right for emphasis. White space creates a dramatic effect.
The clothing worn by the children, the color of their hair and skin mirrors all the amazing types of personalities and ethnic groups. Their activities are as varied as they are. Each page is an invitation.
One of my many, many favorite illustrations is for the text noted above referencing
your own thinker.
It's a double-page picture on a crisp white canvas. On the left a group of four children and a canine companion are walking to the left. The children are wearing identical clothing and red and white striped birthday hats. The dog is wearing the same hat. On the right another child in different clothing carrying a walking stick is moving to the right edge. A happy cat is following as it looks at readers.
If there ever comes a day, or if you want to be prepared, when you doubt the direction you are taking or what makes you one-of-a-kind, Be You! written and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds is the perfect book for you. Readers of all ages will discover and rediscover their individuality. During storytime expect listeners to change their body positions, leaning in and then sitting tall as the story concludes. I know you'll want a copy of this title in your personal and professional collections.
To learn more about Peter H. Reynolds and his other work, please access his website by following the link attached to his name. Peter H. Reynolds has accounts on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The publisher has developed a fabulous page with a video for you to enjoy and an audiobook sample. I hope you enjoy this video.