Author Kayla Fokuo, a seven-year-old second grader, shares her philosophy of life in her children’s picture book The Book About Life.
The Book About Life is somewhat unique among children’s books, in that it’s actually written by a child, and while it might not be as polished as a book by an adult author, Fokuo brings a refreshingly clear and innocent sensibility to the proceedings.
The book is written as a direct communication from author to reader, and begins with a simple but sensible advisory: “Life is an adventure. As you face challenges, it gets harder. Don’t give up.” Short but inspiring, this sets the tone for the rest of the book, in which Fokuo expands on her philosophy, which can, perhaps, best be summed up with this statement: “We have lots of stuff in Life to learn about.”
There are some awkward phrasings that require a moment’s thought before Fokuo’s meaning is clear, such as “You don’t want to run. Life has a way of making levels appear,” and “I found out that if anything get in Life’s way, Life will always find a way.” The trade-off for such puzzlements is the author’s enthusiasm and positive energy, as when Fokuo ponders the mystery of Life, with a combination of poetry and candor: “Life was made when years weren’t created. Is that cool or awesome?!!! Be serious!”
The full-page color illustrations are mostly effective in providing specific examples of sometimes vague concepts, such as using a mountain climber to accompany the book’s opening statement about Life being an adventure, or a small sapling against an otherwise barren landscape with the “Life was made…” quote above.
Readers may feel that The Book About Life is wanting, because it lacks a traditional plot or characters and requires revision, in terms of clarifying many statements. But those willing to overlook such issues could find it useful in prompting meaningful conversations with young children.
Also available in paperback.