June 4, 2017


In Niko Draws a Feeling by Bob Raczka and Simone Shin, Niko loves to draw and he carries his pencils with him everywhere. You never know when inspiration will strike! But it gets tougher and tougher to show off his drawings and hear the same thing every time: "I don't get it." And no one seems to, until a new girl moves into the neighborhood and proves she also has a penchant for abstract art.

Niko loves to draw the sights, smells, and sounds of his surroundings. He draws the "ring-a-ling" of an ice cream truck bell, the warmth of the sun, and the complexities of a bird's nest, but when he shows his friends, no one can quite see what he sees. But that, of course, is because Niko draws the sensations and feelings he has when he observes his surroundings: he conveys what he sees around him through colors and shapes.

The illustrations are mixed media, digital, and acrylic paint, and the scribbles on each page carry readers from one side of the book to the other, making the visual story seem almost effortless. I say "almost" because it's overwhelmingly evident how much thought and effort went into each spread. We see different textures depending on the subject: imaginary objects are drawn as though with crayon, while the "real" objects and people appear like woodblock prints. Each style is heavy in texture and color.

Niko Draws a Feeling published in April from Lerner Publishing!

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