For the last Perfect Picture Book posting during Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, I want to feature a new picture book that is perfect in so many ways, and features an Asian-American pair.
Title: Kiyoshi’s Walk
Written By: Mark Karlins
Illustrated By: Nicole Wong
Publisher/Date: Lee & Low Books/2021
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: intergenerational, haiku, poetry, nature, the senses, observation, Asian/Americans
Kiyoshi watched his grandfather, the wise poet Eto, write a poem with brush and ink. The brush flicked across the page.
The dripping faucet/Takes me back to my old home./Raindrops on frog pond.
The words made Kiyoshi smile. He wished he could make poems too. “Where do poems come from?” he asked.
Brief Synopsis: To show Kiyoshi where poems come from, his wise grandfather invites him to walk around the neighborhood with him.
Links to Resources:
- Take a walk. What do you see? Close your eyes. What do you hear or smell? How do the sights, sounds, or smells make you feel? Draw a picture of what you saw and/or write about your walk;
- Check out the Teacher’s Guide for more ideas.
Why I Like this Book:
An Asian-American grandfather and grandson enjoying time spent together. A stroll through an urban neighborhood, including a large, natural park. Haiku inspired by the journey. Detailed illustrations of the pair’s journey. What’s not to love about Kiyoshi’s Walk?
I can imagine a grandparent and grandchild reading this picture book together, using it as a springboard to their own shared adventures. With Father’s Day next month, it would make a perfect gift for a favorite grandfather.
I also can imagine the fun a teacher or librarian can have with this book, including with older children, as they discuss how one find’s inspiration in everyday occurrences to create poetry or art.
I especially love the answer to his initial question that Kiyoshi shares near the end of the story, that poems come from what we experience outside ourselves, including the sights, sounds, and smells of the environment where we are, and from our hearts. As Eto confirms, “they come from the way the two come together.” Such a beautiful conclusion to this journey of discovery.
A Note about Craft:
In Kiyoshi’s Walk, Karlins combines an intergenerational journey with a blueprint to finding inspiration and writing haiku. He invites readers to slow down, to observe the natural and human-made world around them, and to use these observations as a springboard to creativity. He even includes several haikus as examples for budding poets. These many layers add up to a wonderful new picture book, sure to inspire creativity among its readers.
This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!