BEFORE WE MET, by Laura Krauss and Jing Jing Tsong
Published April 2016
Laura Krauss Melmed delivers a beautiful salute to the bond that exists between mother and child in Before We Met. Jing Jing Tsong’s breathtaking digital collage illustrations feature an evocative palette of violets, purples and blues—the deep hues of a night sky—to create a magical backdrop for a mother’s musings. The phrase “before we met” serves as a refrain in the book’s rhymed lines, turning the text into a lullaby: “Before we met, I dreamt I felt the beating of your heart. Before we met, I promised you I’d love you from the start,” the mother tells her newborn. Soon night gives way to day and a sun-drenched gardenscape filled with flitting birds and blooming flowers. This celebratory scene, signifying birth, is the perfect endnote for Melmed’s gorgeous, impressionistic story-poem.
— Julie Hale of Bookpage
In this whimsical story, a new mother reflects on the time before her baby was born. Each page hosts a
brief sentence describing her anticipation in the form of dreams: “Before we met, / I dreamt we danced / to songs a songbird wrote”; “Before we met, / I dreamt I felt / the beating of your heart.” Complementing the words are Tsong’s richly textured illustrations. The digital collage artwork exhibits a layered, stenciled effect that is thick with color and light, as it depicts scenes from nature. Gossamer dragonflies, broody birds in their nests, mares with their foals, turtles, sea horses, and myriad other parent creatures foreshadow the arrival of the human baby, who is (naturally) a dream come true. The gentle, poetic text makes this soothing book well-suited for nap- or bedtime reading. While its simple message of love will be
appreciated by all, it will connect strongly with new parents in particular.
— Amina Chaudhri of Booklist
SHANGHAI SUKKAH was named a Sydney Taylor Younger Readers Honor Book in 2016.