THEY SAY BLUE by Jillian Tamaki: Stunning Picture Book for Early Childhood Sharing

They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki

I’m sure you know the feeling when you encounter a new book and turning the pages gives you chills.  The images as well as the lyrical philosophical words drew me in immediately and made me eager to share this book, especially with the kindergarten and first-grade children in my life.  I especially appreciate the subtle sophistication in the thinking and the respect for your children’s incredible intellectual abilities.  The picture book lets us in on the thinking and world view of a young girl as she goes through the seasons–or the day–examining the colors in the world around her. It’s about color, but also perspective:  what can we see, and what can we speculate about. And what is color?  The frame “They say. . .” invites us into the wonderings about what we are told and the ways we make sense of these “hard truths.”  For example, the book begins with: “They say blue is the color of the sky….Which is true today! They say the sea is blue, too.”  But when you hold sea water in your hand, it doesn’t look blue at all: “It’s clear as glass.”  She wonders if a blue whale is blue–but she doesn’t know because she hasn’t seen one.

The book is thoughtful, sensitive, and joyful. The pictures are really indescribable, like this field of grass that she imagines as a golden ocean.  Or the incredible images the little girl pictures the red blood inside her body or the orange yolk of an egg.  A magical book that allows readers of different ages and experiences to enter into a reading experience together in wonder and delight.  

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