If You Come to Earth


If You Come to Earth you’d need to know how we work, from land to sea, from homes to travel. Yet what else would you seek? Maybe you’d need to know about people and how we act, think and feel. Then you’d need to know about children, for ‘kids go to school to learn stuff‘ and then grown-ups, who ‘do lots of things to make the world work‘. Yet, what do we do if we’re not at school, work, sick or asleep? Furthermore, what about the differences between people, from how much food we have to eat, to how some ‘talk with [their] hands and faces‘ or ‘read with [their] fingers’.

Sophie Blackall has taken on the biggest of projects, working to explain ‘us’ to those in outer space. Yet somehow, through her direct text and glorious, almost botanical, intricate pictures, she explains us to us. Who are we? Why do we do the things we do? Who shares this planet? What do we make? What are our problems? What are our solutions?

If You Come to Earth is an off the planet, gorgeous, perfect, heart-thumpingly wonderful picture book. It was borne through this award-winning picture book maker’s work around the world with Save the Children, where she saw people’s curiosity in each other. Bookwagon adores it. We assert that every home and family deserves a copy, to read, know, share and love.

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If You Come to Earth

by Sophie Blackall

(Chronicle Books)– hardback

If You Come to Earth is so perfect that I’m inclined to hold it close and never let it go. This book was inspired by Sophie Blackall’s own experience wherein children she met in Bhutan through Save the Children sought to share their lives with her. Thereafter, they ‘drew pictures’‘shared their lunch and [she] showed them some books’.
It made her consider the other children with whom she has worked and how we might ‘explain our world’ as to ‘someone from outer space.’ Who are we? Thus evolved If You Come to Earth through which she was inspired by Quinn, an immigrant to Australia, whom she employed as her focal character.
So what does a visitor from outer space need to know about us? Might it be where we’re found and how the Earth is constructed? Could it be where we live? Furthermore how do we live? What about our homes and families? Then, what about us- our bodies, thoughts, feelings, habits and routines? What do we do all day and why?
Bookwagon discovered Sophie Blackall through her award winning Hello Lighthouse which remains one of my favourite ever picture books. If You Come to Earth joins its predecessor. This is unctuous; a book you want to linger over, share, exalt upon and treasure. We have our own copy but have gifted more. It is an explanation to anyone about where we live and what we do and who we are for sometimes it’s just hard to remember or justify. Bookwagon urges every family and school to choose this gorgeous book.


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