They Say Blue is easily a favorite picture book from 2018. I love books keen on inspiring thought and creativity in children–and adults.
Hardcover Picture book, 40 pages.
They Say Blue is the kind of picture book you need to balance all those books about manners. That isn’t to say it’s a book of mischief (though we should always have plenty of those). It’s just one that engages with the world and our childhood in the loveliest of ways.
They Say Blue is about play, imagination, investigation, questioning what we are told. And to persist, even if one flight of fancy is deflated by a downpour.
I could never build a boat light enough to sail on a golden ocean.
It’s just plain old yellow grass anyway.
More energetic flights are dense with image, action, and words; then Tamaki will shift pace with darker tones, larger images, fewer, quieter words.
One of my favorite spreads is about the crows the girl and her adult are looking at from the window:
We wonder what
They are thinking
When they look at us.
What they see.
Their dark eyes won’t tell.
They just pull their big bodies into the air.
The book is carries a rhythm of its own, perhaps closer to that of a child’s moods during the course of a day or in the course of season. Paired with nature, there is suggestion that a child’s desire to explore it is also natural. And in the discovery, there are things we discover about ourselves.
Jillian Tamaki and also talented cousin Mariko Tamaki are novel-writers and comic book creators for juvenile, young adult and grown-up audiences. You should check out their joint and individual work.