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Afterward, Everything was Different

"This awe-inspiring, almost-wordless picture book celebrates art and the origins of story-telling through a young girl from the Pleistocene epoch who feels the necessity to create"

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LoveReading4Kids Says

LoveReading4Kids Says

June 2023 Book of the Month

In the case of Afterward, Everything Was Different the old saying that “a picture paints a thousand words” rings true with resounding beauty. Put simply, this almost-wordless picture book about the Pleistocene epoch is divine — an impeccable marriage of idea and illustration, with a clutch of perfectly succinct words by Jairo Buitrago providing thought-provoking context at the end.

Rafael Yockteng’s sublimely atmospheric black-and-white illustrations take us back in time to the Pleistocene, sometime between two-and-a-half million and ten thousand years ago. They also lead us on a journey alongside a girl who acts as our eyes on the era. Through her, we witness day-to-day activities like hunting. We see the dangers of wild river beasts, and watch as a community finds refuge in trees. 

Then, when a group of humans take shelter in a cave during a brutal winter, with mammoths gathered at its mouth, we also witness the dawn of cave painting, and with it the beginnings of storytelling, courtesy of the girl who embellishes the cave with images. What’s more, “the marks she made were never erased”.

Being a book you participate in, and ideal to share and ponder at home or in the classroom, Afterward, Everything Was Different is sure to spark conversations around human history and the importance of art. After all, after the invention of art, everything was different.

Joanne Owen

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