Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 3 to 7
- Grade: p to 2
- Reading age: 3 to 7
A young girl, who is visually impaired, finds much to celebrate as she explores the city she loves.
A young girl and her father spend a day in the city, her city, traveling to the places they go together: the playground, the community garden, the market, an outdoor concert. As they do, the girl describes what she senses in delightfully precise, poetic detail. Her city, she says, “rushes and stops, and waits and goes.” It “pitters and patters, and drips and drains.” It “echoes” and “trills,” and is both “smelly” and “sweet.” Her city also speaks, as it “dings and dongs, and rattles and roars.” And sometimes, maybe even some of the best times, it just listens.
Darren Lebeuf uses his keen observational skills as an award-winning photographer to poetically capture sensory experiences in this charming ode to city life. The rhythmic, lyrical text makes for an appealing read-aloud. Ashley Barron's vividly hued cut-paper collage illustrations add compelling visual interest to the text's descriptions. Though the main character is visually impaired, she travels around the city and enthusiastically enjoys its many offerings, and actively contributes to the lyrical bustle of city life by putting on a violin performance in the park. The author's use of limited but evocative language can help children develop an aesthetic awareness and can serve as a perfect jumping-off point for children to use their senses to specifically describe, and appreciate, their own surroundings. The story and illustrations were reviewed by a blind sensitivity reader.
About the authors
Darren Lebeuf is an award-winning photographer based in Vancouver, British Columbia, with a background in design and visual communication. Darren has done numerous illustration projects for schools and charity organizations and also teaches illustration courses. He is also the author of My Forest Is Green and My Ocean Is Blue.
ASHLEY BARRON’s vibrant cut-paper collage illustrations appear in more than twelve picture books, including Chaiwala! by Priti Maheshwari, My City Speaks by Darren Lebeuf (winner of the Schneider Family Book Award), City Baby by Laurie Elmquist (a Bank Street Best Book of the Year) and Pretty Tricky by Etta Kaner (a Kirkus Best Picture Book and an Outstanding Science Trade Book). Ashley lives with her partner and three cats in Toronto, Ontario.
A celebration of city life's sounds, sensations, and faces.
Though simple at first glance, My City Speaks is a nuanced and rich text that can be a great conversation starter on differently-abled people, the importance of paying attention, and the senses.
It's a sensory delight, this one.
Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
A positive book featuring a blind character embracing her full life.