I See You
Michael Genhart, PhD, Author
Joanne Lew-Vriethoff, Illustrator
Magination Press, Fiction, Oct. 9, 2017
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes: Homelessness, Poverty, Child’s reaction, Empathy, Kindness, Social Justice
Synopsis: I See You is a wordless picture book that depicts a homeless woman who is invisible to everyone around her—except for a little boy. Over the course of a year, the boy observes the woman sitting at a bus stop bench, walking down the street, being barked at by dogs, rummaging through trash cans, receiving scowls from customers in a café, and shivering on a snowy bench in the winter. He is a witness to her life on the streets and all that she endures to survive. In a beautiful gesture of compassion, the boy acknowledges her through an exchange in which he sees her and she experiences being seen.
What I like about this book:
Michael Genhart’s wordless picture book is about heart, compassion and connecting with others. It is the a perfect medium to open the door for children and parents to begin a conversation about the many kinds of homelessness. It also encourages children to study the detailed illustrations a little more carefully and use their imaginations to tell the story. The boy is an inspiration and reminder of a child’s untainted generosity.
The emotion and candor captured by this story are beautifully brought to life in Joanne Lew-Vriethoff’s heartfelt and vivid illustrations. They are particularly important in evoking the necessary caring response from the boy and the annoyance of strangers.
Resources: In a Note for Parents, Educators, and Neighbors, there are discussion questions and additional resources about helping the homeless. There is also a section on how children can get involved by making very simple Care Bags. There are many activities kid can do to help the homeless: donate to local food pantries, donate clothing and toiletry items, books, clean toys to shelters. Visit Michael Genhart at his website.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the links to Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.