The Book from Far Away

by Bruce Handy (Author) Julie Benbassat (Illustrator)

Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

In this fantastical picture book perfect for fans of Aaron Becker's Journey, a human child and a child from another planet discover that no matter where you live or what your books are like, reading--and sharing--are universal. A cosmic celebration of the joy of sharing books and having new experiences awaits readers in this captivating wordless picture book for ages 4 to 8.

A child busy reading in a treehouse spots a family who seems to have just arrived on Earth for a picnic. The youngest member of the alien family holds a mind-bendingly strange object. Could it be a book from outer space?

At the end of this gorgeously illustrated tale, each child returns home with a book from far away to remember a kind stranger. Sure to take its place among gently fantastical favorites like Sophie Blackall's If You Come to Earth and Carson Ellis's Du Iz Tak?, this picture book will enchant and delight curious kids and book lovers everywhere.

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Kirkus Reviews

Readers will love poring over the clearly composed artwork's luminous, wondrously imaginative, interplanetary details.

Publishers Weekly

This intriguing wordless story from Handy (The Happiness of a Dog with a Ball in Its Mouth) portrays an encounter between two youths: one of Earth, and a fantastical being from the cosmos. On a wander in the woods with a beloved book, the human child, portrayed with tan skin, spies a spaceship landing in a nearby clearing and watches as an apparent family group emerges. Two seeming adult figures, a young person, and a pet all engage--in splendidly saturated fanciful spreads by Benbassat (The Screaming Hairy Armadillo and 76 Other Animals with Weird, Wild Names)--in play and have a picnic. Examining the site after they've left, the human child finds a magical golden disk that reads as a sort of astrolabe, and soon encounters the youth, who comes to retrieve it. As a farewell gift, the child gives the being their favorite book, then rushes home to relate the story of this extraordinary encounter. Benbassat's distinctive rendering of the outer space family and its belongings exude charm--their sunlike faces have golden beams that radiate outward, and a picnic blanket is poured from a vessel--and a final vignette hints that the story might continue. Ages 4-8. Author's agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM Partners. Illustrator's agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Aug.)

Copyright 2023 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"A magical, wordless tribute to the universal power of reading." — We Are Teachers

"Amazing! Bruce and Julie have created a wonderful addition to the wordless book canon. Julie's beautiful art is rich with detail and visual invention. She shows everyday and otherworldly incidents through flowing, organic compositions that carry the reader on a delightfully strange, compelling, and heartwarming adventure." — David Wiesner, 3-time winner of the Caldecott Medal

"This wordless tale speaks volumes.....emphasizes that kids understand kids, no matter their origin, and that books have universal appeal—literally. Readers will love poring over the clearly composed artwork's luminous, wondrously imaginative, interplanetary details." — Kirkus Reviews

"Intriguing....Benbasset's distinctive renderings of the outer space family and its belongings exude charm."— Publishers Weekly

"Stunning ... will inspire and empower storytellers AND storymakers." — Kitlitbrain

"★ Exquisite illustrations .... Lovely". Imagination Soup

""Wordless masterpiece." — Let's Talk Picture Books

"The sweetest tale of connection and love of reading. No matter what form reading comes in—whether it be on paper, online, audio, or even extraterrestrial, we are all connected to great stories. Each page is packed with adventure and curiosity and I promise you'll love the journey!" — Squarepegsroundworld

Bruce Handy
Bruce Handy is the author of The Happiness of a Dog with a Ball in its Mouth, illustrated by Hyewon Yum. He is also a journalist, essayist, critic, and the author of Wild Things: The Joy of Reading Children's Literature as an Adult. He lives in New York with his wife, the novelist Helen Schulman.

Julie Benbassat is an illustrator based in New Jersey. Since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2019, Julie has created illustrations for The New Yorker, the New York Times, and NPR, among others. She is the illustrator of The Screaming Hairy Armadillo and 76 Other Animals with Weird, Wild Names (Workman, 2020). This is her first picture book.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
August 15, 2023
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV037000 - Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy & Magic
JUV053010 - Juvenile Fiction | Science Fiction | Alien Contact
Library of Congress categories

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