Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mirror by Jeannie Baker

I always love stumbling across books in the library. Here is a phenomenal wordless picture book that rises to the top of my current list of favs.

Written from dual perspectives, Jeannie Baker's Mirror is a treat of a read. The pictures take the reader through the lives of two families, one in Australia and one in Morocco, North Africa. The author's intention was to frame the differences and the similarities of the two living patterns of the families, albeit in such dramatically different places. But there is more here, much more that the readers are welcomed into experiencing.

From the start, the reader knows this is a different book. When I open this book, I immediately notice two books: one on the left and one on the right, with the left side pages turning open to my left, and the right side pages opening to my right. Ohh, masterful! But get this: the left side words, the words on the left side are written in English, and the words on the right side are written in Arabic. These are almost the only words in the book, but the author's framing here at the beginning so impacted how I viewed this book. Still, four reads later, when I open the book, my eyes widen when the words come into my view. Seriously.

Opening the books, one finds the cover pages, one in English and one in Arabic. Turning to the first pages of each book, meant to be read simultaneously, shows the collages of pictures that tell the story. Each one is gorgeous, inviting the reader to peer more deeply into the details captured in each illustration. One little surprise for me was learning how Arabic is written right to left, and in turn, how this book offers young (and older, at least for me!) readers new understandings in how books are read by another culture, this one in Morocco.

See, you just have to go find this book. I am stunned by it. The story-- oh, that has its own sweet surprises!-- is solid, the  cover beautiful, the framing authentic. What is there not to appreciate about this work of art?


  1. Andie,

    Hello there! Remember me? Courtney Gordon, your former advisee and recent graduate of the GRAD program at Lewis and Clark. Of course you do!

    I was reading my daily blog updates on "A Year of Reading" and when I read there most current post about a mother/daughter team writing about the books they read I was pleasantly surprised to find out it was written by you and your daughter! How awesome is that?

    Of course I had to become one of your followers immediately. I think it's great that you and your daughter are using Blogger to post about the books you read.

    I also write a little blog called "Nose in a Book" which is about the books I read as well and a few other things that are going on in my life. I would love you and your daughter to check it out and follow me as well.

    From one book fan to another, I look forward to reading all about the books you and your daughter are reading!

  2. Great to hear from you, Courtney! Welcome to the blog. Franki offers such a sweet framing of Alysa and my's blog on their blog, A Year of Reading, one of the sweetest literacy blogs I know of. Such a huge small world, this blog- world.

    I bookmarked your blog. Thanks for letting me know about it!

  3. Andie and Aly,
    So I am kind of excited to hear about this blog. Thank goodness Franki keeps me up on the world. Interestingly, I just picked up this book at the library. I love it! Can't wait to share it with my class. Looking forward to following.