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The Picture Book Buzz

Eyes That Weave the World's Wonders - Perfect Picture Book Friday #PPBF

I adore the previous picture books Joanna Ho and Dung Ho have created - Eyes That Kiss in the Corners and Eyes That Speak to the Stars. For this wonderful book on transracial adoption, Joanna teamed up with the equally talented (and herself adopted) Liz Kleinrock. The three have created a spectacularly poignant and beautiful picture book on adoption and treasuring any and all of the differences in our families.

Book cover - a young girl looking across the cover, while a swallow flies off the upper corner.

Eyes That Weave the World's Wonders

Authors: Joanna Ho & Liz Kleinrock

Illustrator: Dung Ho

Publisher: Harper Collins (2024)

Ages: 4-8

Fiction


Themes:

Adoption, diversity, family, and belonging.


Synopsis:

From New York Times bestselling Joanna Ho, of Eyes that Kiss in the Corners, and award-winning educator Liz Kleinrock comes a powerful companion picture book about adoption and family. A young girl who is a transracial adoptee learns to love her Asian eyes and finds familial connection and meaning through them, even though they look different from her parents’.


Her family bond is deep and their connection is filled with love. She wonders about her birth mom and comes to appreciate both her birth culture and her adopted family's culture, for even though they may seem very different, they are both a part of her, and that is what makes her beautiful. She learns to appreciate the differences in her family and celebrate them.


Opening Lines:

Every year my family poses for pictures,

running and laughing and hugging and jumping and

standing and squatting and smiling,

in matching clothes

and matching shoes

and matching laughter.


Everyone matching every way.


What I LOVED about this book:

Isn't this such a fun opening?

Internal spread - a collage of five images of family gatherings throughout the year.

Text © Joanna Ho & Liz Kleinrock, 2024. Image © Dung Ho, 2024.


Joanna Ho and Liz Kleinrock created a beautiful, loving, and lyrical ode to family and time together in this opening scene. And Dung Ho's bright, colorful illustrations carry this warmth across a year, following the seasons and a birthday celebration.


The next spread poignantly establishes the little girl's quandary with an understated power.

Internal image of a family photo of a caucasian family and dog with a young adopted asian girl.

Text © Joanna Ho & Liz Kleinrock, 2024. Image © Dung Ho, 2024.


Except me.

No one in my family has eyes like mine.


I love that Liz and Joanna approach adoption through the shape and color of the family's eyes, adding a third book to the "eyes" series. In comparing herself to her parents, I love the way the young narrator describes her mother's eyes as "ocean waves lapping at shores of sand" and how they tell her she's "every wish she whispered . . . a masterpiece." And her father's eyes are like "golden sunflowers bursting between green leaves" and they tell her that sharing time with her “is magic he treasures."


With a beautiful lyrical and stunning visual representation, the child explores both the love and wonder she experiences with her adopted family, the memories and trinkets that came with her on adoption, and the questions she has about her birth mother. I adore Dung Ho's use of colorful ribbons and swallows which swoop around and through the rest of the illustrations visually c0nnecting and weaving both worlds within and around her.

Internal image - of a young girl dreaming of her birth mother and their love.

Text © Joanna Ho & Liz Kleinrock, 2024. Image © Dung Ho, 2024.


I wonder

who and

where and

why and

what if and

what happened?


All I know for sure

is that tears can talk,

and they tell me

sometimes love must look like

letting go.


This spread tugs at the heart. The loving tenderness and lack of specific explanation leave an opening for the reader. This is such a wonderfully touching ode to family and adoptions which gently leaves room for kids and their families to discuss their own situations. A pure celebration of family. It's a lyrical, stunning picture book on adoption, multicultural stories, love, and acceptance.


Resources:

Photo of a collage family tree made with pictures.
  • Create a "Who's in My Family" tree - including anyone important in the child's life.

  • Make a collage of your family and use different colors of ribbons to connect people by their eye, hair, noses, and skin tone. Maybe vary the thickness and/or texture (curly/straight) of the ribbons.

  • What traditions, customs, special items do you have in your family from an adoption or a family member who lived in another part of the world?


If you missed the fun interview with Joanna Ho and Liz Kleinrock on Monday, find it (here).


This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions and resources see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.

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Maria Marshall

 Photograph © A. Marshall

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