A young Chinese American boy discovers himself, his roots, and his potential.
In this poetic celebration of body diversity, family, and Chinese culture, the author picks up on themes introduced in her New York Times bestselling picture book, Eyes That Kiss in the Corners (2021). While the previous title centered female family members, this offering focuses on three generations of male kindred. After a classmate draws an offensive and hurtful picture depicting the boy with slits for eyes, he finds comfort in his father’s affirming words: “Your eyes rise to the skies and speak to the stars. / The comets and constellations / show you their secrets, and your eyes can / foresee the future. / Just like mine.” The boy narrates that his father’s eyes “shine like runway lights” and are just like the eyes of his grandfather, who “holds the wisdom of generations.” He describes how his little brother, Di Di, has eyes just like the male family members who came before him. By finding a mirror in the loved ones whom he so adores and admires, the narrator begins to see that his eyes are powerful and visionary: “My eyes shine like sunlight rays / that break through dark and doubt.” The idea of “looking up” is a repeated textual and visual motif—sophisticated digital illustrations full of flowing lines imply upward movement, and scenes from the grandfather’s memories and his retellings of Chinese tales, as well as scenes of the family spending time together, feature aerial objects like comets and Chinese kites and sky lanterns. The circular narration emphasizes the reassuring similarities between blood relatives and the continuity of family tradition.
A beautifully validating book that builds on the necessary work of its predecessor.(Picture book. 4-8)