Footpath Flowers by Jon Arno Lawson
  

Footpath Flowers

Written by Jon Arno Lawson

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Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2016.

An ode to the importance of small things, small people and small gestures, Footpath Flowers is a quiet but powerful testament to the joy that children can find in ordinary things and the mutual value of giving and yet adults so often miss them. There is so much to glean from this gorgeous wordless, beautifully illustrated picture book from award-winning poet JonArno Lawson.

Synopsis

Footpath Flowers by Jon Arno Lawson

A little girl collects wild flowers while her distracted father pays her - and their surroundings - little attention. Each flower the little girl gathers becomes a gift for a person or animal, and whether the gift is noticed or ignored, both giver and recipient are transformed by their encounter.

Reviews

This beautiful, touching book looks through the eyes of a child whose innocent delight at the world brings a sense of childlike wonder into every day life. -- Alan Nolan Inis Footpath Flowers is a superb wordless book; its quiet beauty, its narrative full of unassuming grace will fill its readers with a real sense of wonder and yearning for those fleeting voiceless moments of perfection. -- Library Mice Library Mice It's a powerful reminder of the importance of appreciating our surroundings and the mutual gift of giving - two lessons which you certainly want your child to learn. -- Junior Junior Full of poignancy, this is a book to revisit and to cherish. -- Jill Bennet Red Reading Hub This is an unusual and delightful book which will give the adult and small person of five or six lots to talk about as they go through the pages. -- Newbury Weekly News Newbury Weekly News This is [a] book to look at over [and over] again - there are new discoveries every time. -- Independent Bookshop Week supplement The Guardian ...this is an anthem for kindness, for beauty in unlikely places and for the things a child seas that adults don't. -- Nicolette Jones The Sunday Times Footpath Flowers is a beautiful book that retains its simplicity whilst also conveying a powerful message. Armadillo Magazine There is a thoughtful quality to this wordless, mostly black and white picture book, the gentle story of a little girl picking wild flowers on a walk home with her father [...] There's much to discuss around this story, which has a pleasingly reflective tone and a fine-tuned feeling that all is good in the world. The Guardian Reminiscent of a black and white movie, this book shows scenes frame by frame [...] This is a beautiful book with a powerful message. Inis Reading Guide Footpath Flowers, cleverly and beautifully illustrated in monotones with only the occasional splashes of colour, effectively and evocatively leads the reader to explore messages and inferences from the simple story of a child's capacity for finding joy in small things. The School Librarian A wonderful wordless book about finding beauty in unlikely places if we just take the time to look. [...] As the book slowly fills with colour we are reminded of what we can miss in our fast-paced lives. A visual poem to the importance of small but significant acts of kindness. -- Zoe James-Williams South Wales Evening Post

About the Author

JonArno Lawson is a Canadian award-winning poet and writer who has published several works of verse. His collections for children include Black Stars in a White Night Sky and The Man in the Moon Fixer's Mask, and for adults, Inklings and Love is an Observant Traveller. He lives in Toronto with his wife and three children.

As a child

Born in Hamilton, Ontario, and raised in Dundas, JonArno’s most formative experiences as a child were the months he spent in Florida at the age of 8. Missing almost an entire year of school (which, luckily, he wasn’t forced to repeat), he spent his weekdays at the beach digging holes and collecting sea shells and coconuts, travelling in glass bottom boats, and visiting nature parks that had free-roaming monkeys and parrots. He wore a ship captain’s hat at all times, and a green pouch on his belt, in which he kept a small golden sword, dozens of ticket stubs, a musket ball, brass souvenir coins that bore the faces of various US presidents, a small British flag he found stuck in his fish and chips one day, and other similar treasures (which he still has and enjoys looking at). His formative influences, as a writer, were mostly songs - “The Gumdrop Follies” recordings of Jim Copp and Ed Brown, “The Irish Song” by Tom Lehrer, and “The Shape of Things” by Sheldon Harnick.

As an adult

JonArno lives in Toronto with his wife, Amy Freedman, and his children Sophie, Asher, and Joseph. Sophie and Asher help JonArno by suggesting phrases, topics, and entire lines for his poems. Joseph, at three months, is too small to take part in this kind of cottage industry approach at the moment.

As an artist

JonArno’s first book of poetry (and aphorisms) was published in 1997, helped in that direction by Canadian novelist Timothy Findley. When studying to teach English as a second language in 2001, he started to keep a notebook full of phrases and words he liked. From these notebooks, letters to his grandmother, and other odd scraps he’d kept over the years he assembled his first book of poetry for children shortly after his daughter was born. He’s been writing for children (and for adults) ever since. He often works while walking about, scribbling things down in a notebook he always keeps with him. Most of his last book was written at a lovely café called ToGo on Yonge Street in Toronto, but he also puts in many hours in his cold, messy basement office at home. He hates messiness, but doesn’t have time to both clean and write.

Things you didn't know about JonArno Lawson

His poem “The Badger, the barnfowl, and their little friend the snail” was originally written as a letter to his grandmother, who hated poetry. She was bewildered by this poem/letter, and continued to hate poetry. His favourite movie is “Fanny and Alexander”. He had a parrot named Angus when he was little. Angus would walk around the dining room table and dip his toast in a cup of tea. His parents were planning to name him Martin Luther because he was born shortly after the American Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Instead they named him after the German writer, Arno Schirokauer. The first real poem he wrote was for his high school girlfriend. Later, (the same year the poem was finally published) she married him. He worked for a summer on the excavation of Tel Dor in Israel. He found nothing at all, but the person working next to him found a 3,000 year old skeleton. His middle name, Burhans, is a Dutch name that means Farmer John. As a child he flew over Miami in the Goodyear Blimp. He thinks (and often writes) best when he’s walking. He edits best when he’s sitting down.

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Book Info

Format

Hardback
32 pages
Interest Age: From 3

Author

Jon Arno Lawson
More books by Jon Arno Lawson

Publisher

Walker Books Ltd

Publication date

7th May 2015

ISBN

9781406362084

Categories


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