"We live with some big mysteries. When we come upon one, we're given a little gift. Every mystery is something for all of us to wonder about together. What do you wonder about?"
Author Annaka Harris noticed that her 2-year-old daughter was starting to ignore questions she could not answer. Eventually, she started giving false answers. Harris realized that she had failed to teach her daughter that it's okay to not know an answer. Unable to find a picture book that dealt with the experience of not knowing, Harris wrote I Wonder with illustrator John Rowe.
I Wonder follows Eva and her mother on a walk through the woods. The little girl is looking up at the moon and notices that it seems to follow them on their walk. The mother asks Eva if she knows why that happens? When Eva doesn't have an answer, her mother explains that it's okay to say, "I don't know." Eva's mother then shares what she understands about the moon and gravity, but admits there is a lot she does not know about it.
Other questions are raised about life cycles and the number of grains of sand in the world. The pair talk about what they know about these things but also why it's important to wonder about things they don't know.
This unusual book is a pleasure to read. It offers a refreshing change from "fast books" that cram facts onto pages in order to offer young readers an educational experience. I Wonder speaks to a child's emotional intelligence and her ability to learn about herself while pondering the mysteries of the universe. This story is a good jumping off point for discussions between children and caregivers because it asks, "What do you wonder about?"
John Rowe's illustrations also inspire a sense of wonder as he creates the planets, sand, and butterflies about which Eva is so curious.
Harris is an editor of science books and also writes with her husband, Sam Harris. Dr. Harris is an author, philosopher, and neuroscientist. Both are co-founders of the non-profit group Project Reason.
I Wonder was published in October, 2013, by Four Elephants Press after being funded by Harris's Kickstarter campaign. It is 40 pages and is currently available in hardcover and kindle edition only at Amazon.com.