22 January, 2016

Fish for Jimmy

It's a wonderful thing when a children's book can approach a topic as heavy as the Japanese experience in the US during WWII with such earnestness and sensitivity, while still being palatable for young readers.
Katie pulls off a great balancing act here, thoroughly engaging young readers while also educating them and trusting them with the mature, poetic language she invokes.

Apart from what I mentioned above,  this book is special to me because it's a model for what I want my work with children's illustrations to accomplish. Fish for Jimmy retains the elements of fantasy and wonderment capable of drawing children's attention, yet is also informative without needing to water down the importance of the subject matter involved.

And, I see a great deal of importance in this; the education of societal conditions-past or present-and the understanding of the relativity of experience should not be bound by the walls of a classroom or the restrictions of a predetermined age of appropriateness. While I don't think that the enjoyment of childhood should always be encroached upon or stifled by the 'seriousness' of the world, it is important to be able to shine a light on the fantastic things that can and do exist through the filter of the world that they know, however harsh the world may be.