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They Say Blue

Written by Jillian Tamaki

  • 40 Pages
  • 9781773060200
  • 10" x 10"
  • from grade P to grade 2
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Concepts / Colors
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Nature & the Natural World (see also headings under Animals)



Publication Date March 01, 2018

Caldecott and Printz Honor-winning illustrator Jillian Tamaki brings us a poetic exploration of colour and nature from a young child’s point of view. They Say Blue follows a young girl as she contemplates colours in the known and the unknown, in the immediate world and the world beyond what she can see. The sea looks blue, yet water cupped in her hands is as clear as glass. Is a blue whale blue? She doesn’t know — she hasn’t seen one.

Stunningly beautiful illustrations flow from one spread to the next, as time passes and the imagination takes hold. The world is full of colour, and mystery too, in this first picture book from a highly acclaimed artist.

Winner of the Boston Globe–Horn Book Picture Book Award 2018


Jillian Tamaki

Jillian Tamaki is a cartoonist and illustrator living in Toronto, Ontario. Her books include Skim and This One Summer, both co-created with her cousin Mariko Tamaki; and SuperMutant Magic Academy and Boundless. She has contributed illustrations to some of the world’s top publications, including the New York Times, the New Yorker and the Guardian, and has taught at Parsons and the School of Visual Arts in New York City.


Praise for This One Summer, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki:

“[T]he illustrations powerfully evoke the densely wooded beach town setting and the emotional freight carried by characters at critical moments … Fine characterization and sensitive prose distinguish the story.” Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Jillian and Mariko Tamaki … skillfully portray the emotional ups and downs of a girl on the cusp of adolescence in this eloquent graphic novel. … Keenly observed and gorgeously illustrated — a triumph.” Kirkus, starred review

Praise for Skim, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
“… [Skim is a] stunningly emotional graphic novel … The delicately lined art alternately expands and contradicts the prose to achieve layers of meaning, tone and irony… With honesty and compassion, this innovative narrative communicates a life just beginning, open and full of possibility.” Horn Book, starred review


Star Review

"Thinking, imagining, noticing — these, Tamaki suggests, are the tools we have to understand our world." Publishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

Star Review

"Attuned to a child’s psychology and patterns of critical thinking, this visually stunning work is a must-purchase for libraries." School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW

Star Review

"With her first picture book, Jillian Tamaki displays a mastery of the form along with a sensitive understanding of the imaginative life of a small child." Quill & Quire, STARRED REVIEW

"Readers experience the colors and sensations of the world through the varying moods and observations of one little girl. . . .this is a reminder to slow down, savor the present, notice small details, and relish childlike wonder." Kirkus

"The illustrations also clearly communicate the wide emotional landscape experienced by young children . . .The language is lyrical and soothingly . . . a wonderful book to use when investigating colour and seasons and the bigger world around us as well as exploring the emergence of critical thinking in children." Resource Links