Here & There

Eerdmans. Apr. 2024. 36p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780802856234.
Gr 1-3–Parallel narratives convey the thoughts of a café owner and a sailor, showing the similarities and differences in their lives. The café owner, Dan, has always lived in the same home and town. He enjoys the continuity but sometimes wonders about the world, intrigued by customers’ exotic stories. Aki is a sailor whose home is his boat on the sea. He is well-traveled yet sometimes longs for a friend, family, or a traditional home. Contrasting lives yield similar emotional arcs with both experiencing contentment, loneliness, curiosity, and wonder. Their lives seem separate, but is that true? Lu’s picture book debut calls attention to moments of loneliness and joy. At the allegorical heart is the lesson that no matter how perfect a life appears, negative emotions will occur. The conclusion suggests we are not as alone as we think. Readers will certainly receive the message that it’s okay to feel vulnerable. Lu’s expressive illustrations use discrete color palettes to further define Dan and Aki’s lives and worlds. The book invites conversations about loneliness and solitude.
VERDICT A topical story on loneliness is thoughtfully depicted through the lens of two different lives yielding similar feelings; a suggested purchase.

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