A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Colors. Seasons. Weather. Aspects of the natural world.
It’s good to be mindful of the world around you, to truly observe it. The world is full of colors and wonders.
Positive Role Models
The young girl is thoughtful and observant and in awe of the world around her. She lets herself feel her different emotions, not only the joyous ones. She and her mother have a close and loving relationship. In the playground scene, kids of many races play together harmoniously.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that They Say Blue by Jillian Tamaki is a visually gorgeous book by a well-known illustrator and graphic novelist. Tamaki won both a Caldecott Honor and Printz Honor (for teens) for the graphic novel This One Summer. Using color as a jumping-off point, a little girl observes the world around her in fresh and thoughtful ways. "They say the sea is blue, too. It certainly looks it from here. But when I hold the water in my hands, it’s as clear as glass." Her observations can inspire readers to be attentive and voice their own questions.
Is It Any Good?
This moving meditation on color, seasons, and more of life's wonders opens with seagulls and closes with crows, and the art itself soars. They Say Blue is constructed of childlike questions and sensory observations that ring true to age and encourage kids to be mindful and open their eyes to the world around them. It takes a fantastical turn when the girl raises her arms like branches, and becomes a tree that passes through spring, summer, fall, and winter.
The text and art work together beautifully to evoke mood, as at the end when the girl's mother parts her hair "every morning, like opening a window," and sunshine yellow streams in past the midnight blues. Most pages feature the girl, but one vibrant spread shows school kids of many races playing together on a playground, and includes one girl who uses metal forearm crutches. The front end papers are sunny yellow, and the back ones are moody blue, and Tamaki's expressive splashes of color convey real emotion throughout.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.