Monday, October 8, 2012

This Week's Books

The Stars Will Still Shine by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke

"This new year the sky will still be there..."
Here is another book that reads like a poem and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Rylant has a talent for unassuming language that packs a sentimental punch. This book reminds us of the big picture through small details. It is at once hopeful and reassuring making it a great nighttime read.

The illustrations portray the highlights of a childhood year as an adult might remember them: beach days with ice cream cones, reading curled up on a couch next to the fireplace, swinging on a swing in a tree, eating peaches and making pies. Along with these happy times there may be darker times, but the author assures us that in grey, winter cities there can be colorful flowers, even dark nights have light, and despite obstacles in our lives the "sky will still be there / there stars will still shine / birds will fly over us / church bells will chime".

When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Diane Goode

This biographical story about the author's childhood in rural Appalachia was a favorite of mine as a child. My mom always called me a "mountain girl" when I was young in the mountains. I still identify with that part of me despite having lived in the city for the past seven years. I can't help but feel that this is only a temporary home and that if I stay here too long I will disappoint a part of myself and possibly my parents who chose to bring me up in a rural area.

As a girl it was clear to me that this story took place a little earlier in time and a little ways away in distance, but nonetheless, I could relate to shelling peas from the garden, warming up by the wood stove, drinking hot cocoa, and reveling in the still evening air of the mountains.

It concerns me that my kids won't relate to this book as I did, not being raised in a small town in the mountains. On the flipside, I imagine they will find themselves in other books that will make an impression deep enough they'll remember a few of the words and illustrations when they're adults living far from home.

1 comment:

  1. Your kids are growing up in a small neighborhood in a big town in the mountains. And you garden and have a fire place so it really isn't so different. Plus you have an ocean to explore with them!

    Being boys they may have different books that they will consider their favorites anyway. Just keep reading to them til they can read themselves.