#MebookoftheMonth December 2017 - Waiting by Kevin Henkes
Updated: Jul 25, 2018
Wednesday, December 13, 2017
“When one is waiting for something, often life throws unexpected joys and sadnesses one’s way. I wanted to include everything from birth to death, but still have it filtered through the eyes of a child.” - Kevin Henkes on Waiting
Waiting by Kevin Henkes is December's #MebookoftheMonth. It received two of the highest honours in children’s literature — both a 2016 Caldecott Honor Book and a Geisel Honor Book. This made Henkes the second person only to win that combination of awards.
What is this book about?
Waiting is about five animal figurines that are sitting on a windowsill — and waiting. Though seemingly plotless and therefore in need of much interpretation, Henkes cleverly paints our everyday act of waiting as a meaningful journey and reinforcement of our personal identity.
We love it because...
Waiting is a big part of childhood — waiting in line, waiting to grow up, waiting for something exciting to happen. In fact, as adults we too experience ‘waiting’ in much more depth sometimes, so it’s always good to remind ourselves that the fruits of our labour are worth waiting for.
Henkes’s use of soft touches of pastel-hued colours creates a melancholic mood that perfectly ties in with the emotions of the entire story. At the middle of the book, we see the little animals gazing out the window at clouds that somehow reflect their forms. This is a effective detail that children will likely pick up, perhaps evoking a sense of empathy for the characters in the book. They might be able to relate if they’ve been in the situation before, else, it is very subtly instilling the notion that waiting is a joyful activity in them.
In an age of instant gratification, this book is one that parents will not regret their children reading!