Inspiring children to read is something all bookworm adults wish they could do. This lovely rhyming text reminds children that there is no perfect place or time for reading and no perfect reader or book. Anyplace can be THE place; anyone can be a reader and any book can be exactly right.
The illustrations are wonderful and demand a lot of close reading in themselves. Predominately inks and watercolours, with possibly some gouache, they look hand-done, although perhaps there are digital elements. There is much to look at and linger over in each opening. The illustrations for ‘I read with my fingers across bumpy lines. I read with my voice or my hands, using signs’, are particularly apt because of the exquisite textural and pattern work. The children occupying each opening are from all different cultural backgrounds, mostly able-bodied, but there are visually impaired children and one child wheelchair bound included. They are shown finding reading opportunities in all sorts of settings. From a former teacher’s perspective, it is interesting to note that the children are all depicted with family or friends rather than in school. School reading does not feature at all. Instead, reading is associated with choice, pleasure, curiosity and leisure, and as part of everyday living rather than to do with formal education. This is, for me, a very important aspect of the book.