“What is a River?” by Monika Vaicenavičienė

Sometimes you hold a book you wish you had written and drawn yourself. You just love it so much in the best possible way! In What is a River? the beautiful illustrations, the wonderful idea, the text, even the typeface and, of course, a grandma embroidering a tablecloth and telling stories by the river – everything in this book is nearly perfect. I also like the fact that it is created by a Baltic writer and artist. Monika Vaicenavičienė is from Lithuania, she studied in Stockholm but now lives and works in Vilnius.

What is a River? is a gentle gem, telling you a layered story about a river. “The river glimmers in the shade, reflecting trees and flowers. It has hidden depths beneath its surface. Just like people. River, who are you? Grandma, what is a river?” The book tells you that river is a thread, a journey, a meeting place; that river is home, a name, a history and a mystery. You also learn about pink dolphins of Amazon River, about Heraclitus who saw the river as a metaphor for change, and about rivers who are named after colours. You learn about King-of-the-Salmon as old as a time and shape-shifting river dolphin changing into a man at night. What hides in the depths of the Congo, the world’s deepest river? How rivers tell about ourselves? And did you know that word ‘ocean’ comes from a river?

“Water is ever-changing, flowing back and forth between oceans, seas, lakes, river, clouds, rain, and groundwater. It flows through every tree, fish and insect. It flows through you and me.”

What is a River? by Monika Vaicenavičienė is published in English by Enchanted Lion Books in 2021 and now lives in the Sea Library a few steps from the Lielupe River.

Kids’ books for the Sea Library are bought thanks to sold woven bookmarks. If you want a bookmark, let me know! Let’s help the collection grow.

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