Have you ever picked up a book and found yourself holding your breath as you turned the pages? That was my exact response to Maybe, written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Gabriella Barouch. It can only be described as absolutely breathtaking.
“Have you ever wondered why you are here?”
With an opening like that, readers should certainly expect a thoughtful kind of narrative, but I wasn’t prepared for the depth of emotion that was evoked during my reading. I wasn’t even sharing it with a child, but I can only anticipate an even stronger connection if I was reading it aloud. That, I believe, is the best way to experience this book, because the beauty should be seen and heard.
The fantastical illustrations perfectly complement the complex, somewhat abstract lines of thought in the text. But don’t let that description cause you to think this isn’t a child-friendly book. I believe that kids as young as preschoolers can, and should, be encouraged to think the way this book encourages one to think– to value one’s potential, to strive to make the world a better place, and to persevere in the face of challenge.
There’s a practice I’ve seen posted on social media more often in recent years, one that I’ve done for two of my own children– to have teachers from each year of schooling write a little note to your child in a picture book, so that over the years, the book gets filled with special thoughts and well-wishes only to be gifted to the child at the end of elementary school, middle school, or upon high school graduation. If this idea sounds like something you might want to do, I cannot think of a better book than this to be the one you choose for this thoughtful gift.