Mythic Poetry in The Girl Who Saved Yesterday by Julius Lester and Carl Angel ~ Post by Mira Reisberg
Julius Lester’s The Girl Who Saved Yesterday, published by the wonderful Marissa Moss at Creston Books, is a powerful story with strong mythical qualities, full of beautiful metaphors holding deeper truths. A young girl is found abandoned at the foot of a large mountain near a small village. She is convinced her parents live at the top and every day begins a journey to return there. But the villagers are afraid her persistence will anger the spirits, and believing that they are doing the right thing, they take the young girl into a large forest and abandon her. She is adopted by the ancient trees that populate the forest, and they name her Silence. Years pass, and some of the trees start getting sick--they tell Silence that she needs to save Yesterday. None of them can tell her what that means, but it does require her to return to the village where she used to live. Silence’s return to her old village prompts an unusual light storm from the mountain where she was found years ago, an occurrence the villagers live in fear of. Following the trails of light, Silence discovers a field of bright stones at the top of the mountain, representations of their ancestors who have been forgotten by the villagers. These stones are central to saving the trees and helping the villagers remember. But will Silence be able to break through the ignorance and betrayals? You'll have to read it to find out.
Julius Lester is a fantastic author whose writing carries strong mythical qualities, full of beautiful metaphors containing deeper truths. His descriptive similes pack surprisingly emotional punches despite the dream-like quality of his words - “Before anyone could ask, Sun began sliding from the sky like disappointment that would never be redeemed.” This story is absolutely haunting and memorable in the best of ways.
Carl Angel does a magnificent job of bringing this legend-inspiring story to life. From the very beginning, Silence’s adoptive family of trees captures the reader’s attention and doesn’t let it go. While the trees do have humanoid characteristics, they are clearly enigmas with facial features reminiscent of wooden tribal masks seen in a wide variety of cultures. His work with color to provide impact and emphasize light and darkness is truly remarkable, and many of his illustrations have a slightly blurred soft-focus effect that adds to the mythical quality of Silence’s journey to save Yesterday.
The Girl Who Saved Yesterday is a wonderful book that will leave you contemplative for a long time after you finish reading, and Julius Lester and Carl Angel were the perfect team to set this masterpiece to paper.
And now for a quickie disclaimer before a short video review, followed by a super helpful interview with Carl himself. Carl is a beautiful longtime friend who I'm honored to be in the book Honoring Our Ancestors with and whom I've been fortunate enough to have lots of creative adventures with over the past couple of decades. I hope you'll love Carl and this book as much as I do.
Just two other books illustrated by Carl.
And here we have a wonderful interview with the fabulous Carl Angel himself! Take a look at what he has to say about his beautiful work on The Girl Who Saved Yesterday.
Next, we'll be looking at another lovely mythic tale by Pauline Ts'o, published by an independent publishing house, Wisdom Tales.
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays will feature the fabulous debut author/illustrator Maggie Brown.
And 5th Mondays will feature a surprise reprise from over nine years of archives.