By Day, By Night

books - By Day By NightAmy Gibson
illustrated by Meilo So





Gibson’s (Catching Kisses) gently undulating verse pays tribute to the children of the world, who are portrayed in their homelands in scenes that highlight topographical and cultural distinctions, and in settings that underpin the universality of their daily experiences and emotions. (The opening image shows five children from diverse ethnic backgrounds yawning and stretching as they awaken in a sort of global bed with a sun motif on the blanket.) So’s (Water Sings Blue) illustrations gracefully balance scenarios grounded in specific places and moments with smaller images of children getting dressed in the morning, being swaddled and cared for by parents, and discovering the joy of reading (“We learn to read; books open doors/ to worlds we’ve never known before”). In one spread, a bustling Caribbean marketplace appears opposite a picture of an African woman crafting a toy zebra, while live ones graze behind her (“We buy and sell. We give and trade./ We offer what our hands have made”). The author is donating her proceeds from this poignant, understated book to the Global


Designed as a fundraiser for The Global Orphan Project, and dedicated to “the millions of children who find themselves alone,” this book tells the story of a typical day for children all over the world, from getting up to going to bed. Globalism is the continued theme as So’s lively pencil-and-watercolor vignettes show children from many countries engaged in typical activities: waking, washing, dressing, eating and greeting. Different customs and approaches to life’s many activities are skillfully depicted. Different ways of carrying an infant are illustrated; an Asian girl reads a book while riding a buffalo through a rice paddy; barefoot boys kick around a soccer ball in a South American city; a tiny African boy is gently held by his grandfather. Children are shown enjoying the changing seasons, from an African rainstorm to skating in Central Park. In spite of all the different ways children are brought up, they have in common the love of companions and their own hopes, dreams and curiosity. Delightfully free and imaginative, So’s illustrations convey the global message in great depth, accompanied by Gibson’s simple rhyming text. The challenge of depicting children from many different cultures without resorting to obvious stereotyping is successfully met. This unusual picture book will spark many questions from young children about the customs and lifestyles of their peers all over the globe. (Picture book. 5-8)


BY DAY, BY NIGHT has been selected for the Bank St. Children’s Books of the Year list

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