A few weeks ago, I participated in Janssen from Everyday Reading’s “5 x 5 Reading Challenge.” Though we take part in these challenges every time she hosts them, I jazzed things up this time by making this an opportunity for an informal author study, reading 5 Cynthia Rylant books each day. While we were familiar with many of her books, we loved exploring her new-to-us titles. One new-to-us title that struck our hearts was Life, written by Rylant and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel. Beautifully illustrated and thoughtfully written, Life is worth reading any time of year, but given the uncertainty and change in our world right now, Life seemed exceptionally relevant to read during this highly unique pandemic life experience.
Rylant’s thoughtful telling and Wenzel’s rich illustrations pack a wallop of emotion and meaning into 48 simple pages. Beginning with the idea that all life starts small and then grows, Rylant and Wenzel progress into the joy that all creatures find in life. Earth provides something unique for all creatures to love, be it sand for the camel or “grassssssssssss.”
But what happens next is what makes Life an important read during these current days, as Rylant writes, “Life is not always easy,” which Wenzel accompanies with dark, heavy illustrations. Since I can’t capture the whole book here, I will instead leave you with some of Rylant’s own words:
And if, one day,
it seems nothing beautiful
will ever come your way again,
trust… the wild geese
who find their way back home.
[They] know something about life: that everything is changing.
And it is worth
waking up in the morning
to see what might happen.
Life by Cynthia Rylant
Though Life was new to us a few weeks ago, it had been on my to-read list for a long time, and we clearly read it at the right time for us! What other books seem especially significant to either you or your children in this new and unknown time?
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