[Monday Reading] Corrinne Averiss’s “Joy,” “Hope,” and “Love”


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). 

Our July – September 2021 reading theme:

Binge-Read: Book Series Marathon

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We are on the look-out for books that fit the following deliberately-nebulous criteria:

  1. Books that are part of an ongoing series
  2. Themed stories: books that are technically not part of a series, but fit a specific theme – e.g. intergenerational stories, nature-themed stories
  3. Short story collections
  4. Narratives of a similar genre 
  5. Stories written by same author

Joy [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Corrinne Averiss Illustrated by Isabelle Pollath
Published by Quarto Publishing Group (2018)
ISBN: 9781910277652. Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

This story explores the love between a young girl named Fern and her grandmother whom she calls Nanna, who seems to have lost joy, as Fern’s mother explained. After learning what “joy” meant (that lovely “whooshing” feeling), Fern set out to gather tools that will enable her to catch joy when she finds it, so that she can bring back joy to Nanna’s life.

Joy is what makes your heart happy and your eyes twinkle.

Try as she might, however, Fern’s paper bag, sauce pan, fishing net do not seem to capture the fluidity of a child’s chuckle or the sun’s sparkles or the whooshing bounce of a floppy-eared dog.

Whether or not Fern was able to “capture” joy, I shall leave for you to discover. I personally found the story to be moving, lyrical, and well-intentioned. While, of course, depression cannot be so easily dealt with in the manner that Fern envisioned, it was really the attempt to grasp the ungraspable and share this effervescence with somebody who is in need of it that made the story work for me.

Hope [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Corrinne Averiss Illustrated by Sebastien Pelon
Published by Words Pictures (2019)
ISBN: 9780711241749 (ISBN10: 0711241740) Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

Comet is Finn’s canine companion. They love spending time together and are practically inseparable – until the time Comet felt very sick and refused to leave his bed.

While I have read quite a number of dog-themed books previously, exploring how children can navigate issues of loss and grief – this one, as the title says, introduces the concept of hope for a loved one who is sick.

Hope is keeping a little light on, however dark things seem.

It is a comforting story that enables young readers to appreciate that feathery fluttery feeling that perches in one’s soul – in a not-so-abstract manner. Given everything that is going on in the world, we do need to leave this little light on, no matter where we are.

Love [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Corrinne Averiss Illustrated by Kirsti Beautyman
Published by Words Pictures (2021)
ISBN: 9780711255470 (ISBN10: 0711255474). Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

I have to admit that among the three stories, this one happens to be my favourite. Tess, the young girl, is attending school for the first time, and felt a bit apprehensive because “Tess always had love nearby.”

Tess’s mother assured her that:

Love is like a string between us – it can stretch as far as it needs to.

I like how this “string” is made visible to Tess – and she can see the multiple strings that connect her to her teacher, her classmates, and everyone else around her. What happens, however, when the strings get tangled or they break? 

While deceptively simple, this one tugged at my “heartstrings” with a voice that rang true and real. The art of Beautyman also happens to be my favourite, out of the three – although all books are masterfully created. This series of Joy, Hope, and Love would be perfect gifts to the young readers in your life.

#SurvivalStories2021 Update: 84-86 out of target 100

August 30, 2021 at 06:31AM Myra Garces-Bacsal