Sunday, 23 April 2017

Footpath Flowers

Last week, I was in Goa attending a Library Educators’ Course. The brainchild of Sujata Noronha (Bookworm, Goa), Parag (Tata Trust) and Usha Mukunda (formerly of CFL, Bangalore), the course brings together librarians, educators, and others working with children and literacy and aims to “construct a shared vision of why library work is critical to the human race and how relationships with a collection can foster some of the most humane and necessary ideas about life”.
        I met some marvelous people there and made friends with some terrific books. Today I am going to blog about one of those books – Footpath Flowers  by the award-winning poet JonArno Lawson and illustrated by Sydney Smith.๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒผ

       Unlike most books one reads, Footpath Flowers is a wordless book. So while normally, one reads the text and scans the pictures quickly, here you are taken aback by the complete absence of words and you begin to look at the pictures carefully. A little girl goes for a walk with her father who seems preoccupied and so pays no attention either to her or to his surroundings. But she notices. She notices everything – the flowers growing in the cracks in the pavement, a man sleeping on a bench in the park, a woman waiting at a traffic signal, a dog looking around curiously. ๐Ÿ€

She picks up the flowers she sees and gives them to the people and animals she passes by. This act transforms her world in many ways.๐Ÿ๐Ÿ

      Sydney Smith has done a brilliant job with the illustrations – skillfully playing with angles and perspectives to create a cinematic effect, to make us feel we are watching “moving pictures”. The quickening of thoughts in the reader’s mind as she turns the pictures, is deftly represented in the movement of the girl as she walks through different neighbourhoods and in and out of different people’s lives.๐ŸŒธ๐ŸŒธ

       The story works at several levels and to me, at this junction, the flowers are a metaphor for books and the act of reading. The more books you read, the more you spread bookish joy or the joy of reading, the more your world is going to be transformed.๐ŸŒบ 

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