A Book for Kids on Belonging - Eyes that Kiss in the Corners by JOanna Ho illustrated by Dong Ho
This is such a special book for kids about belonging. Yes, it will definitely appeal to children of Asian ethnicity, but this children's book is for everyone!
We each are unique and special, and when we connect our specialness to others, it brings a sense of belonging.
Some people have eyes like sapphire lagoons
with lashes like lace trim on ball gowns,
sweeping their cheeks as the twirl.
Big eyes, long lashes.
I have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea.
My eyes are just like Mama's.
Summary - a book for kids on belonging
The main character, a little girl, notices the differences in people's eyes and discovers hers are special; they remind her she belongs.
She notices not only the similarity of her mother's eyes and those of her grandmother and sister, but she also sees a depth of love and family in each.
Her mother's eyes crinkle and sparkle; they speak to the little girl that she is special. Her grandmother Amah's eyes tell stories of their culture and history. Her sister Mei-Mei's eyes fill with joy in her presence.
She discovers that her eyes may be different from many other children, they make her special and remind her she belongs in a family and in a beautiful culture which fills her with strength and hope.
What I love about this book for kids:
This special book for kids contains so many beautifully written descriptions of eyes & how eyes can speak.
The illustrations are filled with the beauty of the Asian culture.
It helps children (and adults) get a glimpse of their unique specialness.
How to Make the Most of this Book for Kids (These are not meant to be done all at once though.)
The phrase "eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea" is repeated often. Allow younger children to repeat this each time with you pointing to each word to give them the "feel" of reading.
Make the most of the colorful illustrations. Ask children to find something in the illustration that is a specific color. You could even play a game of "I Spy" - "I spy something (color)..." and take turns guessing.
Discuss the descriptions or allow kids to draw them. What color is warm tea? What would lace on a ball gown look like? Can you draw a crescent moon?
Look and compare. Begin looking at others' eyes and how they are different or similar to your own. How would they describe each? Encourage kids to use a variety of adjectives.
Expand vocabulary. A book for kids can expand a child's vocabulary; books use so many words we do not normally use in everyday conversation. After reading through the story once, go back and discuss words that may be unfamiliar such as crescent, gazing, oolong, and revolution.
Personification is when inanimate objects are given human qualities such as "mountains that reach to the sea." See how many you can find together. This is huge in helping children learn language and writing techniques.
Similes are descriptive phrases which include the words "like" or "as" by comparing something. This book for kids is full of them! Locate all the similes; have children find the word "like" or "as" and look around it to discover these descriptive gems. Have kids complete some you have prepared. Example: Her smile was as wide as ...; She jumped like a ...; The dog's fur felt like...
Look up what you don't know. This book touches on many aspects of Asian culture and other things that may be unfamiliar. Take time to look these up and learn something new such as what is a "lychee."
The feeling of belonging is essential to all of us. There is that core desire to fit in somewhere...to have a place. This book for kids opens up discussion for this and helps ground children in their uniqueness.
Make a list together of those in your family or inner circle. Talk about both similarities and differences and how each makes you feel. Allow kids to think of moments when they most feel like they belong.
Have children think about the eyes of those in their own family and what their eyes tell them. Do they tell you different things at different times? How does this make you feel?
Make the most of discovering the uniqueness of different cultures. Talk about what makes your own culture special; this opens another door of belonging for kids beyond the family unit.
Not judging what we don't know or understand. This book for kids is unique in that it helps children sense a place of belonging, but also realizing that because someone else's culture is different does not make it wrong. This makes me think of a great quote from Marvel's Black Panther movie:
“We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another as if we were one single tribe.”
Our eyes are incredible! Use this book for kids as a way to talk about all our eyes can do such as see color, adjust to light or darkness, see far away, focus, etc.
Coleman Vision Center recommends the following eye exercises for children along with symptoms to watch for that may indicate vision-based learning problems.
Daily Vision Exercises for Children:
Up and Down. Have your child place their hands out and above and below their head level. Moving eyes only, have them look at each hand 10 times.
Side to Side. Have your child place their hands out wider than should distance apart. Moving eyes only, have them look at each hand 10 times.
Nose to Thumb. Have your child place their hand straight out, with one thumb up. With both eyes open, have them look in at their nose, then out to their thumb. Repeat 10 times.
Eye Shifting. This exercise helps a child learn to shift their eyes quickly from one point to another. Have your child hold an object out in their hand. Have them focus on the object, then look to another object such as a picture on the wall about 10 or more feet away. Repeat 10 times.
Tracking Exercises. This exercise is helpful to children that tend to skip words, switch the order of letters, or lose their place when reading. Tie a string around a ball. Have your child lie on their back. Swing the ball back and forth, side to side, and around in a circle. Have the child tracking the motion with only their eyes, head stationary. Repeat each direction 10 times.
Eye Writing. Have your child draw a letter, number or shape on a wall using only their eyes.
Imaginary Clock. Have your child imagine a large clock. Ask a number and with only their eyes have them look to where the number would be on a clock.
Flashlight Following. Together with your child, and two flashlights in a dark bedroom, have them follow your flashlight as you shine it on objects in the room, near and far, slow and fast. Take turns being the leading flashlight.
Board Games. Unlike games on a flat screen, playing object based board games like Operation, Pick-Up Sticks, and Lite Brite can exercise eye muscles and improve fixation skills. Beading jewelry or using modeling clay are a few more ways your child’s vision can get a workout without them even knowing it.
Galatians 3:8 says - "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus."
Being a part of God's family gives the utmost sense of belonging. Yes, we are each unique and different for a purpose, and in our uniqueness and differences we each can reflect the beautiful image of God.
True belonging goes beyond our physical features; true belonging is having a home for our heart, a place we feel accepted and loved just as we are. God showed His great love for each of us in that even while we were/are still sinners, He sent His Son Jesus to die for us. (Romans 5:8)
When we are a part of God's family, this should also cause us to accept the differences and show love towards others in His family.
"May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6 that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. 7 Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God." - Romans 15:5-7
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another." - John 13:34
Take time to pray thanking God for how He has made us special, for those He has placed in our lives, and for making it possible for us to be a part of His family.
Have kids look in a mirror and draw a self-portrait. Ask them to use their eyes and pay close attention to the unique shape & colors of their face, eyes, nose, hair, etc. Tell them how special they are!
Play a game of "Remembering Similes". The first person starts a descriptive phrase such as "My hair is brown like chocolate". The next repeats the first's simile and then adds their own. This continues as each is challenged to remember the previous ones while also adding a new simile.
Eyes that Kiss in the Corners A book for kids read by the Author -
A Book for Kids about Belonging
Welcome! I'm Susan - Mom to four grown children & Suzie to our grandchildren. I love books and truly believe they can shape lives!