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#MeBookoftheMonth August 2018 - Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers

Updated: Aug 2, 2018

“The things that we think matter—what shoes am I going to wear to the party, what does so-and-so think of me—are actually so irrelevant in the greater scheme of things... Whenever you spell out these very basic principles of humanity, a dose of perspective is forced upon you—you get the astronomical overview effect.”

- Oliver Jeffers on Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth

In the afterglow of first-time fatherhood, Oliver Jeffers found himself pointing out regular, everyday things to his newborn son. Things adults including himself often overlook, like the difference between night and day, the chair, the food. This is both the inspiration and the essence of Jeffers’s new book, Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth.

Since being immersed in new parenthood, Jeffers felt a shift in the way he saw the world. The American political landscape seemed even more worrying and scary with a young human being to raise. Having helped on a campaign called Love Letter America, which focused on the good of, and love for, the country (instead of the bad, or on the things that needed to be fixed or changed), Jeffers wanted to incorporate the same optimistic outlook in a children’s story—hence this book, his first foray into nonfiction.

What is this book about?

An introduction (and reintroduction for some) to this big, blue globe called home, Here We Are is an ode to planet Earth, to the universe and to humanity. It’s also a dedication to Jeffers’s newborn son. Within the pages lie uplifting notes to be tolerant, accepting and kind to each other, and to look after the only habitable planet we have.

Readers get to go on a cosmic voyage as they come across an assortment of humans, non-humans, topographies and places. With spreads of astronomical awe sprinkled with warmth and gentle humour, it’s no wonder Here We Are is an award-winning and bestselling book.

We love it because…

Jeffers’s rich illustrations and galactic hues are just too gorgeous to believe. Combine them with his message about living together and co-existing in unity and harmony as citizens of the world and of the universe, and you get a book that is sure to be a classic and a staple in any home library for both the young and the young at heart.

A heartwarming summary of the world and of life, this book reminds us of the mysteries of the universe, the intimacy of humanity and the beauty in diversity. It has the ability to ignite our newfound love for the world, making us see the magic in the everyday.

A perfect choice for the younger ones, as Jeffers simplifies concepts and elements of life in an entertaining and easily understandable way. But it’s not just for younger readers. This would be wonderful for older ones too, to remind them of the simple little things that really matter most.

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