Picture books are not just for kids. While the enchanting illustrations capture the attention of our youngest readers, the universal messages around hope and curiosity held within these treasured tomes hold true for readers of all ages – particularly those found in the works of Kobi Yamada. We first came to love Kobi with What Do You Do with an Idea? and with his newest book, Trying, Kobi continues to find the inspiration we all need right now. Here, Kobi reminds us that our shared humanity, our generosity, our moments of connection matter more than we know.
This has been a year of upsets, heartbreaks and challenges to say the least. It is easy to feel overwhelmed and exhausted trying to keep afloat in a sea of uncertainty and increased worry. At times like these, I find answers can seem hard to come by. But I’ve also found comfort in asking questions. Questions can be empowering pathways to more awareness, perspective and understanding. And they can be even more powerful in trying times. Questions like: What is my gift to share? How can I help? Where is the opportunity? What am I grateful for? So much hinges on our mindset, on how we look at things. It’s good to pay attention to what we pay attention to, and where we put our focus, because what we focus on tends to increase.
This is one of the reasons why I love picture books. They can give us a brief break from the everyday in ways that can help us to wonder, imagine and explore. They can lead to new insights, spark conversations, and allow us to connect and commiserate at any age. Picture books are beautiful invitations to the imagination that both simplify and expand. They capture our attention, shift our focus, and encourage us to think about things in a whole new way. Some of our favorite picture books can even grow with us throughout the years, moving from our heads and traveling to our hearts.
Now more than ever, we need stories that inspire and connect us. We need to know how much we matter. We need to believe that we can make a difference, that our hopes and dreams are real, and that we hold the potential for incredible things. And I think we all need to be reminded of the beauty, the possibility, and the magic of each moment, of ourselves and each other. Little things like a gesture of kindness, an act of generosity, a moment of shared connection, matter more than we know. In fact, these little things aren’t little. They have the power to turn a life around, to give hope, to uplift and brighten our world.
And so, I ask you: In your one precious life, how do you want to spend your time? And what are you paying attention to?