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Book Review: Eyes That Speak to the Stars by Joanna Ho, Illustrated by Dung Ho

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"Eyes that Speak to the Stars" by Joanna Ho (cover)
Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Book
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: A young Asian boy notices that his eyes look different from his peers’ after seeing his friend’s drawing of them. After talking to his father, the boy realizes that his eyes rise to the skies and speak to the stars, shine like sunlit rays, and glimpse trails of light from those who came before—in fact, his eyes are like his father’s, his agong’s, and his little brother’s, and they are visionary.

Inspired by the men in his family, he recognizes his own power and strength from within.

 

REVIEW: Eyes that Speak to the Stars is a beautiful companion story to Joanna Ho’s previous title. They’re similar in a lot of ways, but still different enough to feel new and be enjoyable.

In this story, the main character is feeling confused and sad by a drawing one of his classmates made. He asks his dad why his eyes were drawn differently.

Through lyrical descriptions and comparisons, as well as gorgeous illustrations that sweep across the pages, the main character learns what makes his features so great. He finds strength and pride within his personal and cultural histories. He also finds the power to dream big.

It warmed my heart how his family helped him see the beauty within himself. Through his eyes he envisions a bright future of his own making, which I think will inspire readers to love who they are and have a more positive outlook on life.

I really loved Eyes that Speak to the Stars, especially the illustrations that absolutely wowed me.

Favorite Quotes:

  • “Your eyes rise to the skies and speak to the stars. The comets and constellations show you their secrets, and your eyes can foresee the future. Just like mine.”
  • “Agong’s eyes that rise to the skies and speak to the stars gaze into the distance like they’re looking at the world through lenses of time.”
  • “He looks at me like I’m the world, but he is the sun, filling my days with light.”
  • “My eyes shine like sunlit rays that break through dark and doubt. They lift their sights on paths of flight that soar above the clouds. My eyes gaze into space and glimpse trails of light inviting me into possibilities.”

More by Joanna Ho

Eyes that Kiss in the Corners


AS ALWAYS, HAPPY READING!!!
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Book Reviews

Book Review: Eyes That Kiss In The Corners by Joanna Ho, Illustrated by Dung Ho

Image via Goodreads

Genre: Picture Book, Asian Lit
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: A young Asian girl notices that her eyes look different from her peers’. They have big, round eyes and long lashes. She realizes that her eyes are like her mother’s, her grandmother’s, and her little sister’s. They have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea, crinkle into crescent moons, and are filled with stories of the past and hope for the future.

Drawing from the strength of these powerful women in her life, she recognizes her own beauty and discovers a path to self love and empowerment.

 

My Review: This was such a lovely story! I liked the main character, the illustrations, and absolutely adore the cover.

Eyes That Kiss In The Corners is a celebration of what makes us who we are. The main character of this story happily and proudly talks about her distinct eyes and what makes those eyes – “eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea” – so special.

Her Asian heritage is celebrated through beautiful illustrations filled with vibrant colors and picturesque floras. I love how she basks in the joy of her shared features with her Mama, her grandmother Amah, and her little sister Mei-Mei. All of whom she loves alot. Their eyes that kiss in the corners means love and that love makes the girl happy.

I like how this is as much the little girl’s story as it is the author and illustrators: Joanna Ho with her eyes that “crinkle into crescent moons” and Dung Ho who draws inspiration from nature to paint each page with such pretty flowers.

Eyes That Kiss In The Corners was a lyrical picture book with splendid illustrations.

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Book Reviews

Book Review: A BIG Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin

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Genre: Picture Book, Asian Lit
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐1/2
Recommend to Others?: Yes

ABOUT: A gorgeous picture book that tells a whimsical origin story of the phases of the moon, from award-winning, bestselling author-illustrator Grace Lin

Pat, pat, pat…

Little Star’s soft feet tiptoed to the Big Mooncake.

Little Star loves the delicious Mooncake that she bakes with her mama. But she’s not supposed to eat any yet! What happens when she can’t resist a nibble?

In this stunning picture book that shines as bright as the stars in the sky, Newbery Honor author Grace Lin creates a heartwarming original story that explains phases of the moon.

 

My Review: A BIG Mooncake for Little Star is a cute story that teaches children about the phases of the moon in a unique, illustrated way.

A mooncake is a traditional Chinese dessert eaten during the Mid-Autumn Festival. They look super delicious, so it’s understandable why Little Star couldn’t resist eating it.

The artwork is the true star of the story (pun intended). The background of these full-spread pages are black and the color palette kept to a few colors. The mooncake looks just like a pretty moon. As Little Star continues to nibble at the mooncake, you get a view of the phases of the moon.

I like the double meaning of words and how the crumbs resembled a scattering of stars in an ink-black sky. I kind of didn’t like how Little Star and her mother’s pajamas – black with big, yellow stars – blended into the background, but I understand that artistic decision to further emphasize the theme.

Overall, a neat story that’ll leave you hungry for some tasty treats.

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Book Reviews

Book Review: Drawn Together by Minh Lê, Illustrated by Dan Santat

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Genre: Picture Book, Asian Lit
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Recommend to Others?: Yes
Favorite Quotes: “Sometimes you don’t need words to find common ground.”

“Right when I gave up on talking, my grandfather surprised me by revealing a world beyond words. And in a FLASH – we see each other for the first time.”

ABOUT: When a young boy visits his grandfather, their lack of a common language leads to confusion, frustration, and silence. But as they sit down to draw together, something magical happens-with a shared love of art and storytelling, the two form a bond that goes beyond words.

 

My Review: Drawn Together is a heart-warming story that depicts in an array of stunning colors how a picture can be worth a thousand words.

The boy isn’t thrilled about visiting his grandpa who doesn’t speak English. The language barrier doesn’t make for a fun visit for either of them until the boy takes out a drawing and other art supplies. Excited, the grandpa grabs his own sketchbook – and the divide begins to lessen.

Right when I gave up on talking, my grandfather surprised me by revealing a world beyond words. And in a FLASH – we see each other for the first time.

I loved this beautiful story. I love the bond that forms between the boy and his grandpa through art. Dan Santat’s illustrations are gorgeous and Minh Lê’s words, though very limited, created such lovely lines.

I 1000% recommend this breathtaking picture book!