August 1, 2016


I am so, so excited to share Deborah Freedman's SHY today! The timing is just incredible, because today also happens to be the first day of the #kidlitpicks August theme "unique friendships." And the friendship you see in this book is unique, wonderful, and such a lovely surprise

SHY tells the story of a unique friendship built on curiosity and bravery. Readers open the very first spread to find an arrow pointing to the book's gutter (where the pages meet) with the caption "Shy was happiest between the pages of a book." From the first moment we meet him, we understand Shy to be a loner, literally tucked into the unvisited and forgotten part of his own world. Shy is an avid reader, though, and his favorite books are about birds. So when a singing bird flies through the pages of the book one day, Shy bravely steps out to follow her and her song. But of course, Freedman doesn't give up her narrator so easily: as Shy steps out, so do other animals, all drawn to the bird's song. We don't actually know who Shy is until the very end of the book (and you'll never guess who it is)!

SHY is a quiet story, helping us to understand the importance of balancing comfort and adventure. Freedman enhances that message so perfectly in her choice of watercolors and pencils: her illustrations are soft, with beautiful touches of light to keep the eye moving forward, and her color choices mirror the tone of each emotional scene. My absolute favorite section of the book (like, I literally can't even just choose one spread, that's how incredible this book is) features a dark and sandy dessert during the night, and as Shy's internal monologue plays out, and he begins to realize the gravity of what he has accomplished, the colors get brighter and brighter until we FINALLY see what Shy looks like. It's such a phenomenal build up that is drenched in emotion because we've spent so long connecting with this character solely on an emotional level.

SHY publishes from Viking September 27! Pre-order it immediately!

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