Eyes that kiss in the corners by Joanna Ho. Illus. by Dung Ho

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"Some people have eyes like sapphire lagoons with lashes like lace trim on ballgowns, sweeping their cheeks as they twirl.
Not me.
I have eyes that kiss in the corners and glow like warm tea."

This is the stunning story of a young Asian girl who notices that her eyes are a different shape from those of her friends, but they are the same shape as her Mama's, her Amah's and her little sister's, All their eyes " crinkle into crescent moons and sparkle like stars. Gold flecks dance and twirl while stories whirl in their oolong pools, carrying tales of the past and hope for the future." And her own eyes "find mountains that rise ahead and look up when others shut down". Through her lashes which "curve like the swords of warriors" she sees kingdoms in the clouds and because they are just like those of the most important women in her life, they are hers and they are beautiful.

It is said that the eyes are the window to the soul and nowhere is that made more explicit in the exquisite language and beautiful illustrations of this story of discovery, revelation and self-empowerment. While we are familiar with mapping the differences in eye colour amongst students, seldom do we ask them to look at shape; while we are familiar with examining the mechanics of how the eyes work, seldom do we consider their origins, their legacy and their vision.

This is such an original story, with such exotic, poetic language that it scarcely needs the illustrations, yet one that will resonate with so many of our students. While there are activities available, this is one that can be so easily enriched with the use of just a mirror and one that will be remembered for so much more.

Barbara Braxton