cover image All the Beating Hearts

All the Beating Hearts

Julie Fogliano, illus. by Cátia Chien. Holiday House/Porter, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-0-8234-5216-3

At night, Fogliano (My Best Friend) observes in incantatory lines, the bustle of the world grows quiet enough to reveal the hearts of the world’s people, “beating in the darkness/ strong and steady and sure.” In this moment, nothing is asked of anyone; it is enough that “we are here/ and alive.../ the same, but exactly different.” The lead-up to that idea forms the bulk of this contemplative picture book, which initially immerses readers in the cares of a day. It begins on a golden morning (“Each day starts with the sun, and hopefully something to eat”), captured by Chien (The Longest Letsgoboy) in soft pastel and colored pencil shapes, then spins a variously diverse cast through “work/ or play/ or work AND play.” When a turn toward night brings readers to the story’s central passage (“and for a little while there/ we are all just hearts”), illustrations signal its importance with spreads whose swirling, floating forms evoke freedom and light. A coda acknowledging the power of daytime concerns to distract humans from their essential value sustains the sense of inner reflection, and a lulling voice and shining, jewel-toned spreads have the power to enchant. Ages 4–8. Agent (for Fogliano and Chien): Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.)