The first time I heard this story, I was at the January Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Supper Club. Matt de la Peña was the featured guest, and he read the book aloud for the very first time to all who were in attendance. I was mesmerized by the story and illustrations of young Milo riding the subway with his sister.
I nodded at the deep knowing contained in his sketchbook drawings as he imagined the lives and stories of others riding in the same train car.
At the end– and never fear, there will be no spoilers here– my heart and eyes were flooded with love and tears respectively as Milo began to reimagine each of the riders’ stories, and for the message that we really can’t truly know anyone’s story by just looking at them. I immediately placed my pre-order and couldn’t wait until 2/2/21 when I could hold my very own copy in my hands.
Yesterday, my copy arrived and I took it out of the box and held it close. You see, this is not just a book about a creative boy doodling to pass the time, or a book you read once and then set back on the shelf. This is the story of a boy who is “a shook up soda” with “excitement stacked on top of confusion on top of love.” It’s about family, love, and an invitation to see the world in different ways. The pages of this book are based on Christian Robinson’s own life and they call us to notice something different and deeper each time we read, and to share it with others.
This book is truly something special and I have no doubt that Caldecott and Newbury will agree this time next year.
To learn more about Christian Robinson and his collaboration and friendship with Matt de la Peña, check out the video below.
“Our stories matter, especially those that we don’t always see..”