Hello Earth! – Joyce Sidman & Miren Asiain Lora

Hello Earth Joyce Sidman
Hello, Earth!: Poems to Our Planet by Joyce Sidman, Miren Asiain Lora
Published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers on February 9, 2021
Genres: Children's
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four-stars

We walk on Earth’s surface every day, but how often do we wonder about the incredible planet around us? From the molten cracks below to the shimmering moon above, Hello, Earth! explores the wonders of the natural world. This playful journey across our puzzle-piece continents does not hesitate to ask questions—even of the Earth itself! 
Joyce Sidman’s imaginative poems encourage boundless curiosity, and Miren Asiain Lora’s stunning paintings capture the beauty of Earth’s ecosystems, creatures, and powerhouse plants. The book concludes with extensive scientific material to foster further learning about how the earth works, from water cycles to plate tectonics to the origin of ocean tides.
A gorgeous, expansive celebration of science and art, Hello, Earth! is a book to cherish in whatever landscape you call home. 

Hello Earth! is a collection of poems to the earth, written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Miren Asiain Lora. This is a big book—each panel is the size of an 8.5”-11” standard size piece of paper. Lora makes good work of the space, filling it with beautiful paintings of the planet and beyond. It’s actually my understanding that, unlike most traditional illustrated books, in this case the art came first. Lora provided the art and Sidman wrote a poem based on what she saw in the work. As such, the poetry fits the art perfectly, bringing depth to both types of artwork. Her words are both grounded and ethereal, engaging with the mysteriousness of this place we inhabit and how it is beyond us and yet is firm in the commitment to care for this mystery that God has created for us.

In Mysteries, Sidman hopes that there is always more to learn:

We hope you

Still have secret places,

Earth:

Hidden forest,

Mysterious plants

And creatures…

Undiscovered

Unexplained.

Our Part reminds us of our need to care for the earth:

Earth,

We are part of you.

We are connected.

In taking care of you,

We take care of ourselves.

Something that I would caution readers is that while Eerdman’s is a Christian publisher, Hello Earth! contains references to evolution. In one poem, Deep Currents, Sidman writes “Long ago we came from the sea, and it calls to us.” In informational pages at the end, there is reference to the earth being 4.55 billion years old and that “humans evolved just in the last two hundred thousand years.” While the fundamental element of the faith is simply that God created, theistic evolution is a fairly minority view and such an explicit reference is likely to limit the audience. At very least, it is something to be aware of should you choose to read this book with your little ones.

As a whole, Hello Earth! is almost completely “secular”—under the assumption that “secular” means “does not mention God.” In truth, that’s a pretty poor definition of the word, but I use to mean that there’s nothing explicitly Christian about the book. (Even though I would argue that extolling God’s creation is pretty Christian…) The point being that most Christian books about God’s creation have a focus on…well…God. And this book, from a Christian publisher, focuses on the earth God gave us and our ecological connection to it.

four-stars