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I Talk Like a River Hardcover – Picture Book, Sept. 1 2020
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Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winner
What if words got stuck in the back of your mouth whenever you tried to speak? What if they never came out the way you wanted them to?
Sometimes it takes a change of perspective to get the words flowing.
A New York Times Best Children's Book of the Year
I wake up each morning with the sounds of words all around me.
And I can't say them all . . .
When a boy who stutters feels isolated, alone, and incapable of communicating in the way he'd like, it takes a kindly father and a walk by the river to help him find his voice. Compassionate parents everywhere will instantly recognize a father's ability to reconnect a child with the world around him.
Poet Jordan Scott writes movingly in this powerful and ultimately uplifting book, based on his own experience, and masterfully illustrated by Greenaway Medalist Sydney Smith. A book for any child who feels lost, lonely, or unable to fit in.
Finalist for the BC and Yukon Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize
A Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book
An American Library Association Notable Children’s Book
ILA Primary Fiction Honoree
Named a Best Book of the Year by The Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, NPR, Kirkus Reviews, Shelf Awareness, Bookpage, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Publishers Lunch, and more!
A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of the Year
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
A Bank Street Best Childrens Book of the Year!
A Chicago Public Library Best Book of the Year
A CBC Best Picture Book of the Year
A Kids' Book Choice Award Finalist
From the Publisher
"This is unquestionably one of the best picture books of 2020."
—Book Page, Starred Review
"An astounding articulation
of both what it feels like to be different and how to make peace with it."
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
This beautiful, deeply personal story by poet Jordan Scott is luminously illustrated by Greenway Medalist Sydney Smith. With its strong message of affection and acceptance, and beautiful packaging including an extra-wide double gatefold spread, I Talk Like a River is a perfect gift for loved ones near and far.
"This wrenching and beautiful book
will give succor to children who stutter and expand the hearts of those lucky enough to take fluency for granted."
—The Wall Street Journal
"Lyrical and empowering. . .
An important and unforgettable offering presented with natural beauty and grace."
—The Horn Book, Starred Review
"An empathetic conversation-starter for families seeking help for a young — or not so young — person who stutters."—The New York Times
"This wrenching and beautiful book will give succor to children who stutter and expand the hearts of those lucky enough to take fluency for granted." —The Wall Street Journal
"This important (and stunning) book promotes self-acceptance . . . as well as empathy" —The San Francisco Chronicle
"One of the most powerful books that I’ve read in 2020."—The Globe and Mail
★ "lyrical and empowering . . . An important and unforgettable offering presented with natural beauty and grace."—The Horn Book, Starred Review
★ "This is unquestionably one of the best picture books of 2020." —Book Page, Starred Review
★ "An astounding articulation of both what it feels like to be different and how to make peace with it."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
★ "By turns heartbreaking and illuminating, this picture book brings one more outsider into the fold through economy of language and an abundance of love."—School Library Journal, Starred Review
★ "Full of reassurance and understanding, this is a much needed look at a common language problem." —Booklist, Starred Review
★"a boy who stutters is given a new way to think about his speech. . . . Artwork makes the internal change a light-filled experience"—Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
★ "In this moving, deeply personal . . . There is plenty for all readers to glean from this boy's 'proud river.'"—Shelf Awareness, Starred Review
★ " Smith’s watercolour imagery in the book’s early parts is soft and edgeless. . . . . It’s only when his dad takes him for a walk along the river that the art firms up. The pair are now framed by the darkly delineated silhouette of tree trunks while the crisp, subtle hues of autumn leaves are reflected in the water next to them."—Quill & Quire, Starred Review
"An exceptional work."—Toronto Star
"Deft poetic language pairs with the resonant watercolors of Sydney Smith to create a book that is more than a memoir and more than conveying a message. This is pain, turned into art, and written for young children. Incomparable."—A Fuse #8 Production
"A sensitive portrayal of the isolation and stigma felt by a kid with speech difficulties." —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"Jordan Scott pulls from his own childhood experience to explore the way his father helped him accept his stutter and offers support for anyone who is differently abled."—BC BookLook
"From its sunlit, breathtaking cover illustration of a freckled boy immersed in a moving river to the lyrical text by a B.C. poet drawing on his childhood experiences growing up with a stutter, this is a book for all ages."—Montreal Gazette
"This is a stunning picture book."—Sal's Fiction Addiction
"Poet Jordan Scott gives us an empathetic picture book from the perspective of a boy who stutters. . . . Sydney Smith's flowing images explain and enhance the text."—BookLoons
About the Author
Sydney Smith is an illustrator of picture books whose work includes Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson; The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart; and Town Is by the Sea by Joanne Schwartz, which was awarded the 2018 Kate Greenaway Medal and the 2018 Children's Literature Award. He both wrote and illustrated Small in the City, which Kirkus Reviews called "Extraordinary, emotional, and beautifully rendered." in a starred review. School Library Journal said "The use of line, reflection, and perspective masterfully evoke a bustling gray city." in another starred review. Travis Jonker of 100 Scope Notes, a School Library Journal blog, said "Small in the City is one of my favorite books of 2019." His accolades include two Governor General's Awards for Illustrated Children's Books and four successive New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of the Year citations.
- Publisher : Neal Porter Books; Illustrated edition (Sept. 1 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 40 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0823445593
- ISBN-13 : 978-0823445592
- Item weight : 454 g
- Dimensions : 23.75 x 0.91 x 26.06 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #78,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #179 in Children's Nonfiction on Disabilities (Books)
- #408 in Children's Books on Parents
- #561 in Poetry for Children
- Customer Reviews:
About the authors
Top reviews from Canada
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Top reviews from other countries
Beautifully illustrated by Sydney Smith and written by Poet Jordan Scott who writes about a boy with a stutter, based upon his own experiences.
My 7-year-old was able to follow the story although it is too much language for my 5-year-old (who has complex speech & language needs). The beautiful illustrations allowed him to follow the story though.
As the young boy moves through his day, we see him in his classroom, hoping that he doesn't have to talk. When the teacher asks him a question and his peers turn to look at him, the picture captures his sense of panic and the pressure he feels.
His isolation is a dominant theme that is sensitively explored in the story. He remains nameless as if to both compound his aloneness and also to remind us that this boy is so many others.
The watercolour illustrations from Sydney Smith are also magnificent. Jaw-droppingly so.
Words can give no justice to the powerful emotions that are drawn out from the illustrations. It is a stunningly illustrated children's book.
This is a very special book that promotes self-acceptance for readers that stutter, and empathy and understanding from those that don't.
It's not a story with an immediate happy ending.
It is, however, a story about a boy moving through life, and turning his pain and isolation from stuttering into a beautiful piece of art so that somewhere out there, another child like my own son may feel less alone.
La voce narrante è quella di un bambino balbuziente che racconta in prima persona la frustrazione per non riuscire a dare voce ai propri pensieri, e il cambio di prospettiva grazie a una metafora del padre (mio padre dice che io parlo come un fiume / io parlo come un fiume): anche lui balbettando può, alla stregua di un fiume che gorgoglia tumultuoso, trovare poi la pace una volta passate le rapide.
Le illustrazioni, ad acquarello, sono bellissime e a piena pagina. Riescono a comunicare efficacemente le emozioni del ragazzo protagonista.
Libro bellissimo anche se un po' malinconico!
Nota: nelle descrizioni di copertina sta una nota molto all'americana che riduce grandemente la bellezza del libro, dicendo qualcosa come: "Questo libro è per persone depresse". Lasciatemi dire: NO. Questo libro ha da insegnare a tutti, anche a chi sa già godersi la vita. Non lasciatevi ingannare.