Written by Joanna Ho | Illustrated by Dung Ho
Disclaimer: I am not an expert in the technical aspects of this book. The experts are the book creators. The following comments are my opinions.
Have you outgrown insecurities you felt as a child?
EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS is a beautiful and touching story of a girl who overcomes her insecurities by seeing the beauty in her family’s past, present, and future. I love how the author uses similes and sensory language to equate her family’s eyes to warmth and, by extension, comfort.
This warmth is reflected through tea and the color gold. I’ve learned in Chinese culture, gold symbolizes power, development of complete understanding, and freedom of worldly cares. How fitting that the creators reference gold in the text and illustrations throughout the story.
Sadly, the struggle the main character (MC) experiences is akin to the internal battle many black and brown people, both young and mature, have about their hair, skin color, etc. We need more books with empowering titles, comforting sensory text, and brilliant illustrations to remind of us our beauty while society tells us the opposite.
Point of View: 1st person
Tense: Present tense
External Journey: The desire to have eyes like people who don’t look like her. Though, she never says it; it is implied through the subtext.
Internal Journey: The desire to have eyes like people who look like her.
Story Arc: Rags to riches
Story Structure: Classic-lite plot
Story Start | End: Opens with a scene: the MC looks in the mirror but we don’t see her beautiful face until three pages later. In the end, we see all of her beauty head on.
Plot type: Wish-fulfillment.
Pacing: Pace quickens when the MC begins talking about family members’ eyes, compelling the reader to turn the page to find out why her eyes are just like theirs.
Illustration: Butterflies begin to appear when the MC and her feelings go through a metamorphosis. Peony flowers blossom as the story progresses until they fill most of the last spread. The end papers start with closed peonies and end with these flowers opened surrounded by butterflies.