One Girl

One Girl
Andrea Beaty and Dow Phumiruk
Abrams Books for Young Readers

A little girl sits outside her home one night looking somewhat dejected when all of a sudden from the sky there falls a book, aglow like a falling star. It lands close to her feet. ‘One Girl. One spark.’ On opening it a flaming flower springs forth from the pages, igniting a spark that the girl follows to a wonderful land of possibility. As she continues her allegorical journey her lonely world is transformed into a bright place full of wonder and opportunity.

So impassioned is the girl that she takes her book into school to share with her classmates. Then, further inspired, she takes a pencil and her imagination takes flight as her own, original words flow through her writing, creating a story she also shares with her class.

This kindles a spark in them too and they appear not only to find their own voices but to discover joy and wonder in reading.

Now they too have a burning desire to share their wonderful new discovery with others and thus they send forth

‘Words like comets through the night. / Blazing streaks of blinding light. / Seeking out the darkest dark …’ and thus, the story comes full circle and another girl’s life begins a transformation.

This beautifully written and illustrated book spoke so powerfully to me. I could have been that girl whose life was totally transformed by the magical power of books as was the child in Andrea Beaty’s spare rhyming text, a text wherein every word is chosen for maximum impact. In my case though it was thanks not to what happened in my school, but to my wonderful father who took me every Saturday to our local library and also enrolled me in a book club at a young age, so I received new magic every month. It’s also a spark that in my role as a teacher, I’ve always strived to ignite in every single child I’ve ever worked with, and will continue to do so ad infinitum …

Although there’s complete harmony between the words and pictures, Dow Phumiruk’s radiant illustrations convey much of the story illuminating with their details the transformational power of books, of writing and of education.

Leaving much to the reader’s interpretation, this is a book to share widely, to ponder upon, to discuss, and one hopes, one that will ignite that spark in all who are open to the might of their own potential.

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