(Click to enlarge)
I read just yesterday the book I’m featuring here today, what the Kirkus review (a starred one) calls “The Arrival for younger readers.” I’m lucky I’m able to show you some of the art from this book, since I asked for some spreads last-minute (this is how I roll), but spreads I have!
The book is Here I Am, published by Capstone Press in September. The story is by Patti Kim, and the art is by Sonia Sanchez. Now, I have an uncorrected proof of this, what I was calling a wordless picture book in my head. I see that the Publishers Weekly review (also starred) calls it one, too, yet the Kirkus review describes it as a “slender graphic novel.” Either way, it’s good stuff.
It tells the story of a young boy who leaves his home country—most likely, a country in Asia (in a closing author’s note, Kim notes her own childhood immigration to the U.S. from Korea)—for New York City. He and his family are making a new life in a (loud) new place. During the course of the story, the boy goes from great despondency, during which his only consolation is memories of home, spawned by a red seed he keeps with him at all times, to acceptance. Kim tells an emotionally powerful tale here, and Sanchez’s swirling art is spellbinding. She uses color to great effect to convey strong emotions, and she knows just when to let white space let the story breathe precisely where it needs to. The boy’s own imaginary visions of his former home, as prompted by his red seed, remind me of Kyo Maclear’s Virginia Wolf, illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault, published by Kids Can Press in 2012. (For that reason and several others, I think this book would be so good paired with that one.)
It’s an intense story of the myriad complex emotions that come with immigration. Or, as Sarah Shun-lien Bynum wrote at the New York Times, “Kim and Sanchez bring to their lively pages the heightened perceptions of the recently arrived.”
I’ll just let the art speak for itself now.
Enjoy. Read the rest of this entry �