Eyes that Speak to the Stars
Joanna Ho and Dung Ho
With similar themes to Eyes that Kiss in the Corners is this sequel with a boy narrator and a focus on the male members of his family.
The boy comes out of school upset and shows his father a picture drawn by one of his classmates entitled ‘My Friends’. Seemingly no offence was intended but Kurt’s portrayal of the boy with slits for eyes has hurt his feelings, especially as the others in the picture all have wide open eyes.
Back at home, father and son stand in front of a mirror and the boy is comforted by these positive words, “Your eyes rise to the skies and spread to the stars. The comets and constellations show you their secrets, and your eyes can foresee the future. Just like mine.” The two head for the garden, father carrying his son on his shoulders shouts, “We’re ready for takeoff” and the boy comments ‘his eyes shine like runway lights.’ Meeting grandfather, the boy notices that he too has similar eyes though his look at the world ‘through the lenses of time’ and he ‘holds the wisdom of generations’. Those eyes are visionary, just like those of Di-Di, the boy’s younger sibling too.
Thus little by little, the narrator, discovers the powers of his eyes, – eyes that ‘shine like sunlit rays that break through dark and doubt. … My eyes gaze into space and glimpse trails of light inviting me into impossibilities. I am the emperor of my own destiny.’
That’s inner strength for you.
What power there is in Joanna Ho’s poetic words too, with their emphasis on looking up. This is reflected in Dung Ho’s digital illustrations that not only portray the strength of the family bond but also elements of Chinese mythology.
A splendid celebration of family and of diversity.