Kiyoshi's Walk

By The Horn Book

Kiyoshi appreciates the haiku written by his grandfather, the “wise poet” Eto, and asks him, “Where do poems come from?” In response, his grandfather pockets a pen and paper and takes him on a walk through their busy urban neighborhood. Passing by a fruit stand, Kiyoshi pats a cat standing on a pyramid of oranges. After the page-turn, the fruit is scattered on the ground, and Eto writes a poem: “Hill of orange suns. / Cat leaps. Oranges tumble. / The cat licks his paw.” They continue their walk, and Kiyoshi’s senses are heightened as he notices a flower in a sidewalk crack and the passing “whoosh” of a girl on a bike. Pigeons fly overhead, leading to Eto’s next haiku; a forgotten teddy bear behind a construction wall leads to the third. Like Karlins’s text, Wong’s digital illustrations are delicate and precise. She uses soft pastels along with grays and browns, employing a variety of perspectives to capture the beauty of a North American cityscape. By the end of the walk Kiyoshi is inspired to create his own poem, having learned that poetry comes from the world around him and from the feelings in his heart, “the way they come together.” An author’s note explains the Japanese origins of haiku and how it differs from the American form. This warm, loving picture book might just inspire a poetry walk.