How have I not published anything in September? I am still reading to my kids and reading some for me, but not blogging about it. I'm stuck into a book about raising biliterate kids, which is great. Plus we have been reading this book over and over again.
The book we are loving right now is Spork (CAN, JP, US), written by Kyo Maclear and illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault. This is a delightful tale of a piece of cutlery who feels alone because there is no one else like him. His parents come from different sides of the cutlery drawer and he isn't sure where he belongs. Eventually he finds his place, if not anyone who looks like him.
To an adult, the parallels to a multiracial child are pretty easy to see, but my kids don't seem to notice. What they do notice are the melancholic feelings Spork exhibits, and they can relate, even if they are not sure why.
In southern Japan, multiracial children are rare. They are something to be pointed out, and gushed over, sometimes. Even my two year old is well aware of how her skin colour differs from her brother and mother (post on that to come!). So although neither Spinky nor Domba can put this into the category "race", they understand feeling different. Of course, *I* relate to the spoon. Not many spoons around here!
What I especially like (spoiler alert) is the ending. Spork is feeling out of sorts and goes out and finds a way to be useful. He is indispensable to the messy loud thing (baby). My personal philosophy is when you are feeling off the best way to deal is to do something useful. I get it from my grandmother who always felt better after cleaning (i need a bit of work until I get that far). This is a moral I want my kids to learn from Spork.
Props have to go to the illustrator, Isabelle Arsenault, for the simple but evocative illustrations. I will be looking for more book with her illustrations. Now I'm trying to figure out if I can somehow buy some of the illustrations from the book for art in my house.
Spork is nominated for the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award (to be revealed on Oct 4th) and it is my pick for the win (not that I have a vote!).
Ms. Maclear states on her website that "This book was conceived as a celebration of hybridity, an ode to a non-binary world." It succeeds on both counts, as well as being a pure joy to read.
This is the eighth book I've read for the