Kiyoshi’s Walk by Mark Karlins

Cover image.

Kiyoshi’s Walk by Mark Karlins, illustrated by Nicole Wong (9781620149584)

Kiyoshi’s grandfather Eto is a poet who writes poetry with brush and ink. Kiyoshi wishes that he could write poems too. When he asks his grandfather where poems come from, the two set off on a walk in their neighborhood. At the corner store, they see a cat on a pile of oranges. Eto stopped and wrote a poem about what happened when the oranges toppled, inspired by what they saw. The two hear pigeons flying above them, inspiring the next poem from what they heard. After seeing an abandoned teddy bear, Eto writes a poem about how it got there and how it feels, all from his imagination. The two reach the river together where Eto writes one last poem of the day, capturing his feelings. Now it is Kiyoshi’s turn to figure out that poems come from our surroundings and how that touches what is in our hearts. He’s ready to write his first poem.

Karlins has created a touching story of the connection between grandson and grandfather. The story is gentle and focused on finding poems throughout their day together. The book clearly shows how heart and imagination meet inspiring moments in life to create art, whether it is poetry, prose, music or art. Throughout the book, Eto treats Kiyoshi as an equal, gently showing him how he works and allowing Kiyoshi to also discover on his own.

The luminous art was done digitally. It evokes the warmth of colored pencil on the page. The fine details work well in showing the vibrant and changing urban setting they live in. The color palette changes as they walk, ending with the setting sun reflected in deep colors in the river.

Full of inspiration, poetry and connection. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Lee & Low Books.

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