Tears – written and illustrated by Sibylle Delacroix, Owlkids, 9781771474221, 2021
Genre: Picture book
What did you like about the book? In this exploration of emotions, Delacroix focuses on tears and all the different situations and feelings that lead to them. Using soft pencil and just one color for most of the book (a soft sea green), she invites readers to empathize with the criers. Everyone cries, she reassures us, big kids, little kids, even grown-ups: “Crying cleans out our messy feelings.” Children are shown weeping dramatically and then softly, being comforted and then getting on with their day. The style of drawings, the teardrop-festooned end pages, and the use of just one color gave the book a retro look. I liked the shift to a more colorful world as the children stop their weeping and fly up in a balloon or run free in a garden. All the characters in the book are White.
Anything you didn’t like about it? I wasn’t sure what the intended message of the book was. Do children really need permission to cry? This book was translated from French, and some of the sentences are flowery and to me, impenetrable: “Our tears nurture secret gardens.” What is that supposed to mean? I think children might also be interested in what causes tears, but the book did not provide that information.
To whom would you recommend this book? Children ages 3-5. It could be useful for an SEL collection, either in the library or for a school social worker as an activator for a discussion about emotions.
Who should buy this book? Elementary and public libraries
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No
Reviewer: Susan Harari, Keefe Library, Boston Latin School, Boston, MA
Date of review: May 30, 2021