Here We Are: Notes For Living on Planet Earth
Inspired by the birth of his son, Jeffers’s gentle text channels the voice of a parent trying to introduce a newborn to the infinite complexity of life on planet Earth.
Through a series of heartfelt notes and vibrant spreads, the child is guided through space, time, sky, land, sea, people, anatomy, and animals. Yet, Jeffers’s narrative voice remains humble, admitting the limits of human knowledge, as well as his own. Additionally, the child is encouraged to ask questions and figure things out for themselves. Thus, Here We Are does not seek to impart facts, but rather values, encouraging the reader to embrace the diversity of life and the wonders of the world. And, of course, as usual, Jeffers interjects plenty of humour!
Jeffers’s visuals play with form, borrowing from both picturebooks and illustrated non-fiction. The dazzling spreads are composed of a mixture of landscapes, diagrams, catalogues, and family scenes, while the typography combines formal font with Jeffers’s signature handwritten scrawl. Using mixed media and a limited colour palette dominated by luminous purples and blues, Jeffers powerfully juxtaposes moments of human intimacy with scenes of natural beauty and cosmic awe. Additionally, his characters are as colourful and whimsical as ever, helping to really underscore the wonderful diversity of life. Difficult to classify, Here We Are seems best suited to new parents trying to make sense of the world for their little ones. Ultimately, this poignant work aims to inspire the next generation to be kind, tolerant, and globally conscious.