Title: Maybe: A Story About the Endless Possibilities Inside Us
Author: Kobi Yamada, Illustrated by Gabriella Barouch
Publisher: Compendium, 2019
I’m going to say it. This is the most beautiful picture book I have ever read. And let’s just say, I’ve read many. The words by Kobi Yamada are uplifting and empowering. He encourages the reader to think about potential as both a wonder and something attainable. I immediately ordered a few of these to give away for graduation gifts.
But it’s the art by Gabriella Barouch that really knocked my socks (and my shoes, for that matter) right off. I wanted to stare at every little detail. I immediately reread it and noticed more. Copied images and my words just can’t do them justice. It’s as though she’s captured every thread of every being. Speaking of thread, look for the way thread is represented throughout the book as well. I missed a few of these details the first time I read it. In an interview with The Children’s Book Review, I learned that Barouch had turned down 50 other illustration proposals before accepting Yamada’s request. Believe it or not, this is her debut picture book!
The adorable pig seen in the illustrations is also available for purchase. I found myself wondering about the significance of the pig (and several items found throughout, housed in glass jars), but it all comes together beautifully in the end! Younger readers may need help understanding the significance of the last two pages.
While the recommended reading age is 4-8, or preschool through 2nd grade, I can’t imagine anyone not appreciating this book. In fact, many teachers and librarians read Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss at the end of the year and this would make a wonderful replacement for those looking to make a change.
I was surprised to see that this book has not appeared to have won any awards or have starred reviews. It has a 4.69/5 rating on Goodreads (extremely high!) and 92% of Amazon readers gave it a 5/5.
Reading author and illustrator dedications is something I never skip, and often come back to after I finish reading. Even Yamada’s dedication on the title page (found in the back) is worth noting:
Dear Shale and Ever,
The quality of your life will mirror the quality of the questions you ask yourself.
Use this is a great conversation starter with your own children. Maybe their thoughts just might surprise you.
Schulze, Bianca. “Kobi Yamada and Gabriella Barouch Discuss Maybe.” The Children’s Book Review, Sept. 25, 2019. https://www.thechildrensbookreview.com/2019/09/kobi-yamada-and-gabriella-barouch-discuss-maybe
Seuss, Dr. Oh, The Places You’ll Go. Random House Books for Young Readers, 1990.
Yamada, Kobi. Maybe: A Story About the Endless Potential In All of Us. Compendium, 2019.