7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #757: Featuring Lian Cho

h1 August 22nd, 2021 by jules


Mary Lee Donovan’s A Hundred Thousand Welcomes (Greenwillow), illustrated by Lian Cho and coming to shelves in October, is like honeysuckle to a bee for young language-lovers — and also a very welcome read (excuse the bad pun) for those moments when the goings-on in the world get you down.

In a short introduction, which notes that the book’s text is written as a poem, readers see a pronunciation guide. This is helpful, because this gentle, lyrical text includes a handful of translations of the English word “welcome.” To boot, Lian Cho weaves pronunciations of these words into the illustrations. In this same introduction, Donovan also notes:

“The call to welcome the stranger and to offer peace and refuge — aman — to those in danger is deeply rooted in ancient traditions and in all major religions. The truth is that ‘we are all migrants on this earth, journeying together in hope.’ In one place or another, at one time or another, in one way or another, every single one of us will find ourselves in search of acceptance, help, protection, welcome.”

(In that excerpt, Donovan is quoting the UNHCR’s Welcoming the Stranger: Affirmation for Faith Leaders.)

Donovan’s poem is an invitation: “Welcome, friend. Welcome. Dear neighbor, come in.” On the opening spread, a girl waves to a family, rushing in during a storm. “We’ll shelter in peace, break bread where it’s warm.” As we read, we see families all over the world doing the same; we see families speaking Mandarin, Lakota Sioux, Indonesian, German, Hindi, Modern Standard Arabic, and more. The opening and closing of the book even includes images of hands fingerspelling “welcome” (pictured above), and on the last spread, Donovan writes: “A hundred thousand welcomes / I sing, / I sign, / I pray.”

A note from Cho (at the book’s close) explains that she intended for food to be an integral part of this story:

“When this story first reached me, I knew that I wanted some aspect of this book to revolve around food. Families from all over the world joyfully coming together and welcoming strangers across a giant table filled with delicious foods from many cultures felt like the right thing to paint in a time when hate and fear are championed.”

She also writes about her efforts to eschew stereotyped images in her artwork: “I had to be creative and determined,” she writes. Her research pays off in these bright, bustling, detailed spreads. There’s a lot to take in, so expect lingering before page-turns. And expect to want to snack afterwards, given all these lush spreads with feasting and food from all over the world. Check out below the grand feast that closes the story. Although I’m working from a digital copy of this book, it looks to me like this feast is a double gatefold. Magnificent.

It’s a big-hearted, compassionate book, Donovan noting in her closing note: “I am not a marcher. I am not a rally-er. I am not a fist shaker. I am not a knitter of hats or a waver of signs. My rage boils down, instead, to ink. This particular river of ink is my love song to our shared humanity and it is my protest against intolerance, injustice, and inhumanity.” For those who feel the same — or even for those who are fist shakers — the book closes with a selection of further reading (picture books!) as well as selected sources.

Here are some spreads. … (p.s. Remmember Lian’s artwork from this June post?)


“Hellos and How-are-yous, / ancient and young.
I bow to your spirit. / Selamat datang.”

(Click spread to enlarge)


“Ahlan wa sahlan. / Bienvenida.”
(Click spread to enlarge)


“shāgata. / May our meeting be blessed.”
(Click spread to enlarge)


“May you never know hunger. May peace fill your nights.
May your children’s children grow strong in the light.”

(Click gatefold spread to enlarge)


(Click cover to enlarge)


A HUNDRED THOUSAND WELCOMES. Text copyright © 2021 by Mary Lee Donovan. Illustrations copyright © 2021 by An-Li Cho. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Greenwillow Books, New York.

* * * Jules’s Kicks * * *

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

1) All the light in this book — from lanterns to moonlight to firelight to candlelight to the warm light emanating from a safe home.

2) This woman has found the kind of courage that I, in my cushy life, may never face. May she stay safe.

3) Compassionate educators.

4) Making brigadeiros, thanks to a gift from a friend.

5) My talented picture book friends and colleagues, who say, yes, I’ll write that.

6) My current read. Pretty gripping.

7) My friend has a book coming out soon, and I can’t wait to read it. Also, she’ll launch it virtually at Books of Wonder if you want to watch. Here are the details.

What are YOUR kicks this week? I must have sat here for an hour, thinking of kicks. The news has been difficult this week, hasn’t it? (My state certainly isn’t helping.) I hope everyone is healthy, and if you’re in the path of the hurricane, stay safe.

6 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #757: Featuring Lian Cho”

  1. Thank you for sharing A Hundred Thousand Welcomes. Every library needs it. Ceud mìle fàilte is Scottish Gaelic for a hundred thousand welcomes.
    Jules, your need read sounds fascinating. And the brigadiers look divine.
    My kicks:
    1. The arrival of my friend, Susan Blackaby’s book, in the world: WHERE”S MY COW?, illustrated by Scott Brundage.
    2. Susan reading her book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HpKf3qEKNVA
    3. A writing workshop with Georgia Heard.
    4. Two hours spinning and splashing on the Willamette Jet Boat Tour.
    5. Creating.
    6. Preparing for a road trip this week.
    7. Snuggles with Buster.
    Have a great week.

  2. I know it’s a huge cliche to call a book “timely,” but A HUNDRED THOUSAND WELCOMES looks just that.

    Jules, I wasn’t familiar with brigadingdeiros until just now, but WOW.

    Jone, enjoy the road trip. I’ve been daydreaming about taking one myself.


    1) School is going pretty smoothly so far (although each kid has one close friend in quarantine already)
    2) BLTs for dinner at least twice a week lately, and no one complaining
    3) Hearing the kids practice their instruments — it never gets old
    4) A dear friend announcing that she’s following her dreams and opening a bakery
    5) That Christian Robinson stuff at Target. I went a little nuts and got bookends, a blanket, and more. He’s my favorite!
    6) A car problem that I thought might cost hundreds or even a thousand dollars is only going to be about twenty-five bucks
    7) Catching up on podcasts, the best part of spending so much time in the car for school transportation

    Take care, friends. It’s rough out there in the real world.

  3. Hi Imps, and hello to An-Li Cho and Mary Lee Donovan!

    Congrats to all Imps and friends of Imps who have new books and writing in the works.

    Kicks from the past week:
    1) Rest
    2) Restoration
    3) Decisions
    4) Space
    5) Quiet
    6) Music
    7) Mind

  4. After reading the post about this book, I immediately pre-ordered it. It looks like all kinds of wonderful. Thank you, Jules, for shining your talented light on it.
    Jules: My mind, being a retired educator, is always thinking about those still in the field. Compassion has always been a key element, but needed more than ever.
    Jone: One day during the lockdown I went to the Airstream website. They have videos giving you a tour of all their models. I was road-tripping that day. May you have loads of fun.
    Shauna: I love the idea of your friend opening a bakery. I think every town should have its own bakery.

    My kicks:
    1. Rain last night
    2. Rose of Sharon blooming
    3. Fawns playing in the lot across the street
    4. Finishing Linda Urban’s Almost There and Almost Not and loving it
    5. Reading one of Kate Messner’s History Smasher books and being wowed by what I learned and her research. Pearl Harbor
    6. Picture books
    7. Walks with my sweet Mulan

    Have a super week everyone.

  5. Jone, Georgia is so talented. Hello to Buster. Safe travels this week!

    Shauna, I haven’t made it to Target yet but am eager to see the Robinson things, all the things. Which podcast is your favorite?

    Little Willow, those are relaxing opening kicks. Speaking of “mind,” my husband told me about a great meditation app that has proven to be helpful. (It’s called Calm.)

    Margie, whenever I see “Rose of Sharon,” I laugh at myself for having read The Grapes of Wrath in my 20s, just because I’d never read it — and not realizing for waaaaay too long what “rosasharn” referred to. Also, good GOD that is a great novel, and now I want to reread it. … Also, FAWNS! Love those books my Messner. Hello to Mulan!

  6. […] Posted at 7-imp on August 22nd, 2021 by Jules […]

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