Not so much a story, as the chronicling of a journey, Windows is an absolutely gorgeous picture book by Julia Denos and E.B. Goodale.
The book follows a young boy as he takes his dog on an evening walk, past the brightly-lit windows of his neighbourhood.
Each of these windows tells a different story, as do the streets themselves, all backlit by beautiful sunset.
Windows is such a bewitchingly lovely book that we had to include on our list of our 23 favourite picture books staring BAME boys. Read on to take a peak inside and find out why we love it.
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The perfect book for bedtime, Windows is a book that encourages children to find their stories in the pictures. The illustrations are stunning; full of vibrant colour and mysterious shadow. And the result is an intriguing twilight world that unfolds around this boy, walking his dog at the end of the day.
In the book, it’s that twilight time when people have turned on their lights but not yet drawn their curtains. And so each window that the boy passes presents a self-contained little story.
They are spots of golden light in the gathering darkness, where people are going about their evening rituals.
The magic of twilight
E. B. Goodale’s illustrations perfectly capture that magical quality of light as the sun sets, and every scene is backlit by a glorious sunset sky.
I love the way the colours of the sky change and deepen as the boy walks on. So that by the time he is home, it’s very nearly full night.
It perfectly evokes the way that the ordinary becomes slightly strange or mysterious at dusk, and there is a certain loneliness to the boy in his red hoodie (a nod to Peter in Ezra Jack Keat’s Snowy Day) walking his dog through the shadowy streets.
My kids really enjoy the quietness and atmosphere in this book, and they also love spotting all the things talked about in Julia Denos’ text.
The last window that the boy looks through is, of course, his own, and there is a beloved figure at the window, waving.
The final page brings you inside, to a room lit by a yellow lamp. So now, it’s the boy (and us) who are on the inside. And the curtains are pulled back to reveal the dark street outside.
The boy and his mother are curled up in an armchair together, reading. And at least one of my children will invariably point out how they are just like us.
It is an utterly satisfying end to a book that lingers in the mind long after you finish it.
By the same author and illustrator:
The follow-up to Windows by both author and illustrator focuses on the idea of being present in the here and now. Just as thoughtful and gorgeous as Windows, with a more obvious focus on mindfulness.
Julia Denos’ latest solo work is a winsome story about the friendship between two very different children – one made of flesh and blood, the other made of stars.
Absolutely beautiful artwork illustrates this lovely tale, which touches on the importance of appreciating what you have as well as valuing differences in others.
Picture Books with Diverse Characters
Have you seen my full list of the best 23 picture books with diverse characters? Just like Windows, all of these picture books feature black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) boys as main characters. Something that’s as rare as proverbial hen’s teeth in children’s books, and a problem I’ve written about here.
Check out the list to find out more about our favourites, and take a peek inside. If you like the look of Windows, then I’m sure you’ll find some others to love there too!