cover image Amah Faraway

Amah Faraway

Margaret Chiu Greanias, illus. by Tracy Subisak. Bloomsbury, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0721-1

In this carefully structured picture book by a Taiwanese American author-illustrator team, black-haired, light-skinned Kylie, who lives in San Francisco, is apprehensive about visiting her Amah in Taipei. Though the duo connects weekly online, the language and culture feel somewhat daunting to Kylie when she and her mother arrive: “With/ ears pricked, she listened to Amah talk./ Kylie kind of understood.” Chiu Greanias (Maximillian Villainous) employs a gently circular form that emphasizes how Kylie’s feelings flip: “After she dipped a toe in the water.../ Kylie changed!/ The day they visited the hot springs?/ It was a brand-new day.” Approachable, warmly colored doodle-style art by Subisak (Jenny Mei Is Sad)—rendered in ink, watercolor, pastel, and colored pencil—invitingly traces Kylie, her mother, and her grandmother’s time in Taipei, including its restaurants, parks, and night market, appended with speech bubbles of English and Chinese with pinyin. Encouraging openness toward new experiences amid a centering of one child’s diasporic shift in cultural perception, this contemporary tale tenderly spotlights the strengthening of an intergenerational relationship. Back matter includes creators’ notes, a guide to the Taipei sights featured, and meanings behind Taiwanese foods. Ages 3–6. Author’s agent: Sean McCarthy, Sean McCarthy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Lori Kilkelly, LK Literary. (Jan.)