“If You Come to Earth” book review by Sandy Ferguson Fuller.
“There are lots of things I don’t know,” writes children’s author, Sophie Blackall. “I don’t know if there is life elsewhere in the universe, though I find it hard to believe we are all alone. But I do know this: Right this minute, we are all here together on this beautiful planet. It’s the only one we have, so we should take care of it. And each other. Don’t you think?”
Blackall’s inspiration above for If You Come to Earth began atop a Himalayan peak in Bhutan, a fitting spot for her to reflect on the gift of life and the unknown. Where were we before we were born? Where do we go when we die? Is there life other than what we know? How do we honor our moments on Earth? How do we grow ourselves and others?
If you were to write a letter to someone out there in the galaxy inviting them to join our life on Earth, how might you entice them to come? What makes up our world? How is it special? What makes life delicious or difficult? How can we make it better? That’s what a child narrator tries to express in If You Come to Earth. Sophie Blackall is an award-winning children’s book illustrator, and her new picture book showcases the stunning vitality of our life on Earth. Her vibrant drawings depict the details, the differences, the dilemmas, the infinite opportunities and the rewards that comprise living fully.
There are nearly eight billion people on Earth. Blackall offers her audience 80 pages of rich and colorful illustrations of daily life on Earth, but of course, only a snapshot of reality. She portrays the infinite variety of people, flora, fauna, spaces, places, customs, activities, lifestyles and more that comprise living as we know it. If You Come to Earth is a tribute to us, how we have come to be and how we may continue. The book challenges us to gather, to nurture and to cherish what is available to us.
What lends us energy, empathy, emotion, exuberance, expansion and excellence each day are the experiences we choose to embrace. If we welcome the unknown, life builds on itself. If we invite possibility, change begins. If we preserve the sacred, we enrich the spiritual. If we cultivate diversity, we combine forces. Yin and yang. We create vitality. Don’t you think?
A beautiful and thoughtful reminder and gift for all ages.
Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2021 issue.