Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Blueberry Girl


Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman is a poem illustrated beautifully by Charles Vess. Ostensibly a picture-book, the poem was originally written by Neil for his friend Tori Amos and her daughter, Natashya (Tash), Neil's god-daughter. Written the month before she was born, when she was known as "Blueberry", Neil was asked to write her a poem and/or prayer, the hand-written version of which was hung by her bed once she was born; Neil kept a copy that many friends requested and which he copied out for them. He never intended to publish it, he intended to keep it private but the Blueberry Girl took on a life of her own and became "a book for mothers and for mothers-to-be. It's a book for anyone who has, or is, a daughter. It's a prayer and a poem, and now it's a beautiful book" (a quote from Neil's online Journal).

It is a truly wonderful book, beautiful and inspirational and something to cherish. As a daughter I appreciate that. There a couple of imminent babies entering my life and if either of them happen to be a girl then I will be gifting the proud parents and their new daughter with a copy of this book. It is uplifting and it makes me happy, as does this video of the illustrations from the book with Neil Gaiman reading his poem and lyrically lulling us into peacefulness with his dulcet tones .


Blueberry Girl is rich in wonder and dreams for the future daughter, who should be blessed with the freedom to pursue her dreams.

Grant her the wisdom to choose her path right,
free from unkindness and fear.


Whimsical, sweet and moving, this is a book for blueberry girls everywhere. May we be free to fulfill our dreams.



Blueberry Girl is published by Bloomsbury in the UK and I thank them for sending me a copy for review.


I am considering this my first book read for the Women Unbound Challenge as I cannot think of a children's book more hopeful of equality and the fulfilling of potential.


21 comments:

verity said...

This sounds lovely, and what a way to begin the Women unbound challenge. When I saw your tweet about this post I thought "what a wonderful title" and it does sound like a wonderful book. No friends expecting babies at present but one to bear in mind.

Paperback Reader said...

It is lovely and a wonderful way to begin the challenge, although unintentional. The title is fabulous and the book is definitely one to keep in mind. I am having a blueberry day, posting about the book, eating blueberries and my hair smelling of blueberry shampoo!

Book pusher said...

It is such a lovely book, I gave my daughter a copy on her 16th birthday, it just seemed to express everything I wished for her. It is one of those picture books that has enduring appeal regardless of a person's age. What a nice way to start a challenge.

JoAnn said...

What a lovely book! I'll be buying a copy of this one for sure...thinking it might even make a good graduation gift. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

Jenny said...

I think this book is gorgeous - Charles Vess's illustrations are always lovely, and the poem itself is too. I love the lines about "Keep her from spindles and sleep at sixteen / Let her be waking and wise". (Something like that, I hope I haven't mangled it too badly.)

Paperback Reader said...

Book pusher, what a lovely gift for your daughter and the perfect sentiment. It does have enduring appeal.

JoAnn, I think it would make a perfect graduation gift. I'm glad that I had the opportunity to share this beautiful book with you all.

Jenny, you didn't mangle that at all. It's "let her stay waking" but other than that it was perfect! I particularly liked that part myself.

Rebecca Reid said...

I just got this from the library too! It caught my eye. I also enjoyed it.

Paperback Reader said...

Glad to hear it, Rebecca! It's an incredibly appealing book aesthetically and message-wise.

Frances said...

This is at the top of my wish list for the school library where I work. And I know just the expectant mother a copy should go to also. Thanks for the insights.

softdrink said...

Good choice for Women Unbound...I never even would've thought of it. But you're right, it's a very hopeful book.

Paperback Reader said...

Frances, you're welcome. I hope it is appreciated by both the library and the expectant mother.

Jill, it didn't occur to me until I had reread it for review but I think it sums up the ethos behind the challenge.

leaningtowardthesun said...

Now this is the kind of book young girls and young girls at heart should read! I agree that it's an excellent choice for the challenge.

Nymeth said...

Yes and yes and yes :) This quickly became my favourite picture book - for about a month I'd read it to myself every evening. And I think you should count it for Women Unbound!

Paperback Reader said...

Danielle, definitely - it is such an inspiring and heartwarming read, for girls of all ages.

Ana, I thought that you would approve! It has rapidly become my favourite picture book too.

Paperback Reader said...

One of the impending babies I mentioned in my post was born early this morning and is a girl so I'm definitely giving her Blueberry Girl :).

Bonnie Jacobs said...

It didn't occur to me to include this book as one of my choices for the reading challenge, but I have now posted a review of Blueberry Girl along with the story of buying it for my first great-granddaughter:
http://bonniesbooks.blogspot.com/2009/11/blueberry-girl-by-neil-gaiman.html

Maybe I should count it as an "extra" book on my list?

Paperback Reader said...

Hi Bonnie, thanks for commenting. I think this should be an additional book on your list as it is perfect for the challenge; I enjoyed your post and hope your great-granddaughter enjoys the book.

Aarti said...

Is Neil Gaiman capable of writing a bad book?! I should look into this one. What a great way to start the challenge- I'm glad there are such positive picture books for girls, and ones that are written by men!

Paperback Reader said...

Aarti, not the ones I've read! This is definitely a positive picture book for girls and one I would recommend unreservedly. If I didn't love Gaiman's literature already then this would have converted me as it is wonderful.

hmsgofita said...

I've never heard of this poem...it really sounds like a great one. I'm a daughter and I would love to pick this one up. Thanks for sharing!

Paperback Reader said...

hmsgofita, I hope you enjoy it; it is a lovely poem and book and I recently gave it to my new baby cousin.