Regional focus: The Whole Wide World
Author: Sooni Kim
Illustrator: Mia Sim
Genre: Children’s literature
I purchased Una lluviosa mañana de domingo over two years ago at the Feria Internacional de Libros in Guatemala. I read the story lovingly…the soft winter colors of the illustrations evoked nostalgia of the rainy days I know so well living in a country that has but two seasons, wet and dry. The dreamy young girl in the story who looks out her bedroom window at 7:00 AM on a rainy Sunday morning and imagines what other children might be doing at the same exact moment around the world reminded me of my eight- year-old self.
I placed the book on my office shelf in the section designated for personal favorites, where it remained sandwiched between other titles until recently when, on a rainy Sunday morning, I lounged in bed and marveled once again over the gentle illustrations and thoughtful words. However, what struck me as most curious at second glance was the worldly compilation of the book. The writer is Sooni Kim and the illustrator is Mia Sim. While a small biography exists on the web about Sim, (I learned that she was born in 1966, is Korean and was first an electrical engineer before dedicating her career to children’s books), I can find no information about Kim. The book was printed in China in 2010 by a Spanish publisher, Pipola. How does a book written and illustrated in Korea, translated in Spanish, printed in China and distributed by a Spanish publisher end up in Guatemala? While I may never know the full journey of Una lluviosa mañana de domingo arriving to my book shelf, I rejoice in the serendipitous path that connected me with a gem of a children’s book.
I’ve only located Una lluviosa mañana de domingo in Spanish print, which limits the audience who may actually be inspired to read it. However, if you are a Spanish reader, I whole-heartedly recommend that you loose yourself in the whimsical pages of Kim’s book. And if you happen to be a beginner of the Spanish language, children’s books are an effective yet unthreatening way to approach a new language and you will equally appreciate this clever tale.
What I love:
- Sim’s illustrations are universally “child,” by that I mean that you could be a child almost anywhere in the world and be able to connect with her imagery.
- Kim’s words inspire curiosity and wonder.
- Una Lluviosa mañana is a quiet book, a great example that not all children’s books need to use bright primary colors and bold words.
Themes: childhood, imagination, contemplation
- What do you see outside of your window at 7:00 AM? I invite you paint us a picture of your view with words.
- How do you like to spend rainy days?
- What do you think 7:00 AM might look like in other parts of the world? Other countries? Towns? Villages?
- Paint a picture of your 7:00 AM view from your window. Use watercolors in the style of Mia Sim.
- Make a picture book of “snap shots” of 7:00 AM around the world. Use drawings or pictures from magazines.
- Investigate time zones. When it’s 7:00 AM in your home, what time might it be in other regions of the world?
If you appreciate learning about what other children are doing around the world at the same exact moment, you may also like Nine O’ Clock Lullaby and At the Same Moment Around the World.