I feel for so many different groups of people who are being affected by this pandemic in different ways. I feel so badly for the kiddos who didn’t get to say goodbye to their friends or teachers for the year. My heart breaks for graduating seniors who got no prom, no commencement ceremony, and missed out on half of their senior year. I can’t imagine how difficult this time has been for those who live alone and can only interact with others virtually. While that helps, it’s just not the same.
I also feel so badly for authors, especially debut authors, who were to be published during this time and had to have their pub dates pushed back. Or to authors whose books did publish on schedule but were unable to promote their books with signings, school visits, etc. This will undoubtedly impact book sales, and it just doesn’t seem fair.
So for today’s blog, I’d like to highlight Taste Your Words, the debut picture book from author Bonnie Clark, which released in April.
In Taste Your Words kids are introduced to Amera, a young girl who doesn’t have very nice things to say to others. Amera’s mother tells her to “taste your words” before they come out of her mouth. Amera doesn’t understand what that means until she samples some pretty sour, rotten, and spoiled tastes after uttering some unkind words to friends and family. Amera soon learns that tasting her words works the other way too – while unkind words yield yucky tastes, kind words bring sweet, sugary, delicious flavors! Amera quickly learns that she wants to only taste yummy words, so she learns to speak kindly to others.
This was a very original story with a wonderful lesson for kids (and adults too!). In an interview with Rhys Keller, Bonnie Clark stated that her inspiration for this story came from a Bible verse from the book of Proverbs: “Kind words are like honey, sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” – Proverbs 16:24. Look closely while reading to find this and other Christian-themed messages hidden in the illustrations.
Which brings me to my next point – the illustrations! I LOVE the illustrations in this book!!
Todd Bright is the illustrator and also Bonnie Clark’s step-brother. With animation credits including Disney films such as Tarzan and Lilo & Stitch, it’s no wonder these illustrations are simply on another level than many. Todd Bright beautifully captures Amera and her world, but he also helps young readers really understand just how yucky unkind words taste through the food illustrations and Amera’s reaction to them.
And don’t forget the kind, yummy words. Bright’s illustrations are so vivid and fun that readers will want to scoop some ice cream, pluck some jelly beans, or lick a lollipop right off the pages!
All in all, this is a beautifully written, exquisitely illustrated picture book, and I hope to see more from this duo! I highly recommend this book for homes, classrooms, libraries, and Sunday school classes.
Taste Your Words is available now!