From Elin Kelsey and Soyeon Kim, the author and illustrator of You Are Stardust, comes another book about connections designed, in Kelsey's words, to help kids "realize that warm, supportive community already exists for all of us." Written for ages 4 - 6, You Are Never Alone starts with a reminder that "Every moment this beautiful planet showers you with gifts."
Kim reinforces this message by the look of wonder on children's faces as they see and reach up for birds and out for flowers on an exquisitely textured gold disk that makes them seem to belong not only to Earth but also to the whole solar system and beyond. Each of the detailed pictures carries this magical quality. In one, for instance, a child peeks out of a flower blossom where a bee collects nectar, while another child soars on the back of a bat. Kim intentionally scrambles proportions. One child kneels on her corgi's belly to stroke his muzzle; his paw is about the same size she is.
Kelsey's words are no less enchanting. With an awestruck tone, she draws ecological connections: "Bears drag spawned salmon onto shore, spreading fishy nutrients that help massive trees grow." Whales diving and rising draw phytoplankton to the surface "where the sun powers their growth."
In her closing note, Kelsey acknowledges that our well-intentioned efforts to teach kids about environmental problems can leave them feeling that Earth is a scary place and it's up to them to fix it. This approach, she believes, "ignores the extraordinary power and resilience of ecosystems all over the planet." She goes on to illustrate the science behind this hopeful perspective, such as how living on a tree-lined street brings you "health benefits equal to being seven years younger."
Her optimism throughout You Are Never Alone is infectious. It's just what we and our children need so that we can joyously take heart and team up with the Earth as loving stewards of nature's gifts.