Eyes That Speak to the Stars

Image of Eyes That Speak to the Stars
Release Date: 
January 25, 2022
Reviewed by: 

The New York Times bestselling creators of Eyes that Kiss in the Corners, Joanna Ho and Dung Ho, are back with a companion book, Eyes that Speak to the Stars, an uplifting story of identity affirmation across generations and the power of discovering one’s inner strengths.

The story starts with a little boy, describing to his Baba (dad) his hurt feelings after seeing how a friend has drawn him “with eyes like two lines stretched across his face.” In response, Baba stands his son in front of a mirror and says, “Your eyes rise to the skies and speak to the stars. The comets and constellations show you their secrets, and your eyes can foresee the future. Just like mine.”

In dreamy, lyrical phrasing, Ho takes the unnamed boy on a celestial journey that links him (and his eyes) to his Agong (grandfather), ancestors, and his little brother Di-Di—a journey that shows the boy the visionary capabilities his eyes have, “My eyes shine like sunlit rays that break through dark and doubt. They lift their sights on paths of flight that soar above the clouds. My eyes gaze into space and glimpse trails of light inviting me into impossibilities.”

Dung Ho’s digital illustrations express the warmth of family connectedness as well as the excitement and brilliance of otherworldly dreams. Bright colors and swiftly moving images engage and invite the child reader to be part of this beautiful fantasy, ultimately resulting in the boy finding the power within himself, “I am the emperor of my own destiny. I read a brighter future in the stars and will fight to make it a reality.”

Eyes that Speak to the Stars celebrates Asian boys in the same manner Eyes that Kiss in the Corners celebrates Asian girls, not just through representation in books, but through poetic storytelling. Eyes Speak to the Stars offers all child readers an inspirational lift, a roadmap to turning hurt into pride, questioning into discovering, and doubt into inner strength. In the end, the little boy releases a lit lantern into the night sky, like sending a message into the universe, “My eyes that rise to the skies and speak to the stars are visionary. They are Baba and Agong and Di-Di. They are me. And they are powerful.”