Kevin Henkes is the winner of the 2020 Children’s Literature Legacy Award that honors an author or illustrator published in the United States, whose books have made a significant and lasting contribution to literature for children. A few years ago, I wrote a mentor text author study featuring his books. Today I’ll look at a few picture books published since then.
His picture book series, When Spring Comes, In the Middle of Fall, Winter Is Here and Summer Song, illustrated by Laura Dronzek, introduces the seasons to a very young audience. In each book children explore and the outdoors and experience what each season brings through text and pictures.
Henkes invites kids to observe their surroundings. The sparse poetic text is filled with imagery, repetition, and alliteration.
Before the Spring comes,
The trees look like black sticks against the sky.
…the sky is mostly gray
and the air is chilly,
…and the apples are like ornaments…
Winter is here
It’s falling from the sky.
If you slow down and think about it, you can feel the Summer Song.
and then hot
and then hotter.
Picture books by Henkes are stellar examples of how to capture wonder in words for a young audience.