Eyes that Kiss in the Corners, by Joanna Ho/Illustrated by Dung Ho, (Jan. 2021, Harper Children’s), $17.99, ISBN: 9780062915627
This gorgeous book is an ode in verse to loving oneself and the connection to one’s heritage. A little girl notices that some of her friends have blue eyes and long lashes, but she looks different. She has “eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea”, and they look just like her mother’s, her grandmother’s, and her sister’s. The love and hope and history in these eyes are carried from generation to generation, and they communicate volumes. Not for one moment does our little protagonist worry about not having “sapphire lagoons with lashes like lace trim on ballgowns”, because her eyes “find mountains that rise ahead and look up when others are shut down… lashes like the swords of warriors..” Each page reveals beautiful determination, self-love, and self-worth, and Dung Ho’s digital illustrations are warm, yet powerful, with strength through grace. Touches of Chinese history unfold through the spreads, with references to the Chinese culture and mythology; clothing, and imagery.
This book is breathtaking, and I can’t wait to read this at storytime. Add this to your shelves, your storytimes, and your collections.
Eyes that Kiss in the Corners has starred reviews from School Library Journal and Kirkus. It was also one of the top ten picks for the Winter 2020-2021 Kids’ Indie Next Great Reads.