August 2, 2016

Words to Live By

Whether they're from stories, letters, or even email, words have the power to transform our lives and connect us in so many ways. Behind every word is a universal truth and experience, and today's books highlight the connections we make--with the stories we read and with each other--when we open ourselves up to the power of words.

A Child of Books (Candlewick, 2016) is the much anticipated collaboration between Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston that serves as an ode to books and the transformative powers of words. So naturally it's a great place to start!

We follow two characters as one leads the other through a variety of adventures in storytelling. Every scene in this book is literally shaped by the words on the page: when the little girl comes riding in to meet the boy, it's on a wave of words from seafaring stories like Moby Dick, and as they escape from the monster, they climb down a rope of words pulled from fairytales.

It's a very powerful moment to realize that this book is riddled with the stories that connect us. We see the similar impact that stories have had on our lives as we journey forward with our two characters, bringing us closer to each other and each other's experiences.

The message of the book is clear: books unite us, and no matter where you're from, these are the stories that impact us and shape who we are.

Ben Clanton's It Came in the Mail (Simon & Schuster, 2016) is another fantastic example of the power of words.

Liam loves getting mail, but the problem is that he never actually gets any. Tired of waiting, he takes matters into his own hands and writes his mailbox a letter asking for a surprise.

Like in A Child of Books, Liam (and readers) get to experience the magic of words coming to life, though in a very different way. We witness the literal power of words as Liam creates his own world around him through writing letters.
Words have consequences, and Liam shows us just how literal those consequences can be. What we put out into the world comes back in one form or another, and luckily Liam is selfless enough to use his words to help others.

Lastly, we have The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles (Dial, 2016) by Michelle Cuevas and Erin E Stead.


We've already experienced the power of words and their ability to connect us to each other, and The Uncorker is another good example. The Uncorker has taken it upon himself to deliver messages he finds in bottles, but when he finds a message he can't deliver,

The Uncorker innocently and unknowingly finds himself strongly affected by words on a page, and these words help him to create a new life for himself and connect with others.

In his search for the recipient of the message, the Uncorker places himself in a position of interacting with others and finding himself. He never realized how lonely he was until he found the letter, but it's the power words (albeit a stranger's) on a page that change the course of his life forever.

Up next week is the second installment in the Let's Talk Illustrator series, featuring the adorable and talented Esmé Shapiro, debut author and illustrator of Ooko! Make sure to stop by!

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