When Barack Obama was sworn in the second time in 2013, this poem by Richard Blanco was recited at the podium. Obama had had an eventful first term, but the essence of America remained the same. The good, the bad, the ugly all come together in this exquisite book to paint a picture of one uneventful, but very thoughtful day. This book feels like the people in it are living deliberately. It feels like they are moving forward. From the very first endpaper done in vibrant, deliberate colors this book is a distinct declaration, not of national pride, but of national collective effort to move forward. "Yes, we can!" proclaimed the President the first time he took office. This book is a hopeful disclaimer to that proclamation, that a country is only as great as the hopes and dreams within it - that darkness happens but it's this very darkness that could prove the mettle of our worth.
The lines in this book are absolutely stunning. There are lines cast by sunlight, and lines cast by shadow. There are lines that are man-made objects such as buildings and bridges, and lines in the natural world that make up these poignant illustrations. When I think of Dav Pilkey I like others think of the simple line drawings of Captain Underpants, but this book (along with Caldecott honor book The Paperboy, and other works such as God Bless the Gargoyles) is another side to Dav Pilkey's work filled with strong, dark colors that have something to say.
Get this book. Get it now. If you have children (and even if you don't) I already have an idea which page will stab you right in your heart, but I'll keep that to myself and let you experience this book for yourself. Have a good day. And if you're in a place in your life where good days are eluding you, have a better one tomorrow. Either way, read this book as a call to a better life more deliberately lived in full colour.
Title: One Today
Author: Richard Blanco
Illustrator: Dav Pilkey
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (November 3, 2015)