What do you Know? by Aracelis Girmay and Ariana Fields

What do you Know? by Aracelis Girmay and Ariana Fields, illustrated by Ariana Fields. Enchanted Lion Books, 2021. 9781592703210 

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Format: Hardcover 

Genre: Picture book

What did you like about the book?  This is a truly beautiful picture book with text based on the last line of Sharon Olds amazing and haunting poem “Looking at Them Asleep”.  “When love comes to me and says What do you know, I say This girl, this boy.” In “What do you Know”, love comes to a honey bee, a farmer, a historian, volcanic ash, a rock and more, and asks the question. Each person or object gives a thoughtful and honest answer giving the reader a mini-lesson in patience, guidance, understanding, balance and joy. The pencil and watercolor illustrations are all double-spread yet simple with the main character or main point centralized and obvious. 

Anything you didn’t like about it? I loved this book so please don’t mistake this as a “I didn’t like…” blurb. I did spend some time mulling over whether this book was a picture book for kids, however. I can see a snuggle-fest with your favorite, and super patient, five-year old where you read some of the text, do a LOT of discussing and examine the pictures but I think this is more suited as a great gift to an adult who loves contemplative poetry and great illustration.

To whom would you recommend this book?  I would give this to an adult who loves poetry or a family who likes to read together and think together.

Who should buy this book? Families

Where would you shelve it? Picture books or poetry books

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? I wish you would. I want to know what you think about who to share it with.

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City and State: Pam WattsFlavin, Head of Children’s Services, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA.

Date of review: October 1, 2021

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