Written By: Amyra León
Illustrated by: Molly Mendoza
For Ages: 3 years and up
Topics Covered: Philosophy, Mindfulness, Freedom, Social-Emotional Learning, Family, Love.
This gorgeous book will change your life. Much like the philosophical Child of Galaxies I shared a few weeks ago, this story explores both tangible and intangible notions of freedom and existence. I love this book for the way it foregrounds BIPOC characters and I could practically feel the love between the mother and her child while I was reading.
Throughout the book, I was greeted with Molly Mendoza’s fantastical illustrations that seem to leap off the page and directly into my heart. Sometimes I think abstract illustrations can be tricky for younger readers and listeners to follow along with, but not this one. Because the lyrical prose sways back and forth between the tangible and the abstract, the illustration style ties them together in a stunning way that conveys so much movement. Every few pages we are reminded to inhale, exhale, and be present in the moment. Our breath is freedom, it means we can continue living, fighting, and surviving. The young child asks big questions: can freedom be stolen? Can it be bought? Can it be taught? A wonderful array of discussions can be brought forth from this beautiful work that recognizes all of us have a part to play in the world and our very existence is what our ancestors wished for. Please do yourself a favor and track down a copy of this story! You absolutely won’t regret it.
This book was kindly sent to us by Flying Eye Books, but all opinions are our own. This book is out today!
AMYRA IS A MUSICIAN, PLAYWRIGHT, AUTHOR AND ACTIVIST.
Her work fuses music and poetry through powerfully transparent performances focusing on social inequalities and communal healing whilst celebrating love, blackness, and womanhood.
She has performed throughout the United States and Europe collaborating with the likes of The Apollo, BAM, BBC, Roundhouse, Amnesty International and more.
Amyra composed Una Mujer Derramada in collaboration with Sivan Eldar commissioned by and performed with Lisbon’s Gulbenkian Orchestra, the Montpellier National Opera, and the Paris Chamber Orchestra. She is the inaugural recipient of the Battersea Arts Centre Phoenix Award which led to the 2019 London premiere of her debut play VASELINE.
She is the author of Concrete Kids (Penguin 2020), Freedom We Sing (Flying Eye Books 2020) and Darling (Walker, Candlewick 2022) . Her musical debut, Something Melancholy, led to sharing stages with Common, Robert Glasper, Nikki Giovanni and more. Amyra’s debut album, WITNESS, is set to release this summer.
Molly, since childhood, had always used art as a means to make connections with others whether it be through image or story. She continued to relate back to those childhood connections in work that developed over the course of her college education at Estrella Mountain Community College and later at the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Since then she has branched out into editorial work and her own personal art practice. Clients have included Adobe, The New York Times, Hazlitt, and The Atlantic. In her personal practice she had recently kicked off the Fresh Paint Mural Project with RACC and Open Signal with hopes for more murals in the future. However, her narrative work still remains fixated on the relationships we share with others and the emotional journeys we go on — highs and lows alike. In a lot of ways Molly still uses her art to make connections with people. She now is living in Portland, Oregon.