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The Watcher
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The Watcher
illustrated by Bryan Collier
Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, October 9, 2017
ISBN: 978-0802854452

ABOUT THE BOOK

A poetic story inspired by Psalm 121

Jordan lives in fear of Tanya, the class bully. But Tanya has worries of her own, no matter how much she tries to ignore them. It seems impossible that Jordan and Tanya could be anything other than enemies, but the Lord is watching over them, guiding each of them along a path that might just help them to understand one another.

Using the golden shovel format, I've worked with Psalm 121 to tell a story of compassion, friendship, and faith. Bryan Collier has created illustrations that bring this story to life.

REVIEWS

starred review When the chaos of life threatens to overtake your soul, a simple psalm can soothe you. In this picture book, Wilder Award-winning author Grimes delivers a compact yet powerful message of hope and encouragement based on Psalm 121. Short poems energized with kindness, despair, hope, regret, and acceptance are delivered using a style she describes in the back of the book as "the golden shovel," a form she also used in One Last Word (2017). Grimes defines this form as using a portion of an existing poem and arranging it in such a way that the end words of each line form a short sentence from the original poem. Using the words from the psalm, woven with carefully crafted words of her own, she tells the story of Jordan and Tanya, two elementary school children struggling with fitting in, trying to survive. Tanya, a black girl, stutters and compensates with meanness; while Jordan, a shy and quiet white boy, just wants to make a friend. Tanya feels the constant brunt of other's lack of compassion and directs that anger toward Jordan. Collier's exquisite artwork combines soft, delicate brush strokes with lively photo collages. The effect is both hyper-realistic and gauzily surreal, a perfect complement to Grimes' poems. A sumptuous work filled with a deliciously wrapped center—perfect for classrooms, school, public, or church libraries, or home: wherever hearts go for mending. —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

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