Tag Archives: reassurance

Perfect Pairing – Two Picture Books that Provide Reassurance

Sometimes I read something by a particular author and immediately search out everything else s/he’s written and anxiously await her or his next book. I think serious readers can relate – who doesn’t have “one of those collections”? Sometimes, with picture books, it’s the illustrations that speak to me, as in the case of today’s pairing.

 

Virginia Wolf

Virginia Wolf 

Author: Kyo Maclear

Illustrator: Isabelle Arsenault

Publisher/Date: Kids Can Press/2012

Ages: 4-8

Themes: mental health; moods; emotions; healing power of art; imagination

Short Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Vanessa’s sister, Virginia, is in a “wolfish” mood — growling, howling and acting very strange. It’s a funk so fierce, the whole household feels topsy-turvy. Vanessa tries everything she can think of to cheer her up, but nothing seems to work. Then Virginia tells Vanessa about an imaginary, perfect place called Bloomsberry. Armed with an idea, Vanessa begins to paint Bloomsberry on the bedroom walls, transforming them into a beautiful garden complete with a ladder and swing so that what was down could climb up. Before long, Virginia, too, has picked up a brush and undergoes a surprising transformation of her own. Loosely based on the relationship between author Virginia Woolf and her sister, painter Vanessa Bell, Virginia Wolf is an uplifting story for readers of all ages.

Read a review at This Picture Book Life.

 

You Belong Here

Author:  M.H. Clark

Illustrator:  Isabelle Arsenault

Publisher/Date: Compendium Inc./2016

Ages: 4-8

Themes: belonging; love; lyrical text; bedtime story; reassurance

Short Synopsis (from Goodreads):

The stars belong in the deep night sky, and the moon belongs there too, and the winds belong in each place they blow by, and I belong here with you. So begins this classic bedtime book, richly illustrated by award-winning artist Isabelle Arsenault. The pages journey around the world, observing plants and animals everywhere, and reminding children that they are right where they belong. A beautiful title for new babies, adoptive families, and children of all ages.
You are a dream that the world once dreamt,
And now you are part of its song.
That’s why you are here, in the place where you’re meant,
For this is right where you belong.

Read a review at Brain Pickings.

I paired these books because both are quiet books that reassure children and both feature Arsenault’s distinctive illustrations. In Virginia Wolf, Virginia is in a “wolfish” mood that causes her sister Vanessa to worry and use art to lift Virginia’s spirits. I think Vanessa’s actions and Virginia’s response will reassure children of all ages who either suffer from mood swings or live with someone who does that moods can change for the better. With its lyrical text and soft illustrations, You Belong Here also provides reassurance, in this case that no matter what, you belong with loved ones. Both books are perfect for a cozy read by a fireplace on a cool evening!

Looking for similar reads?

See Carson Ellis’ Home for another reflection on belonging, reviewed at Brain Pickings; M.H. Clark/Madeline Kloepper’s Tiny, Perfect Things, a lyrical ode to noticing small things, also reviewed at Brain Pickings; and visit Isabelle Arsenault’s website to find other picture books that she’s illustrated.