“All About Nothing” by Elizabeth Rusch with illustrations by Elizabeth Goss is a picture book about negative space and the beauty of nothingness.
This book explores what may be hidden in the space around things. In art, this is known as negative space, but it can be other things more broadly. The book seeks to show readers how things can be seen differently.
The lesson here is on mindfulness and it’s presented really well. How well this is received by young readers is another story. Illustrations complement the text really well.
The book 'All About Nothing' by Elizabeth Rusch and illustrated by Elizabeth Goss is a courageous attempt to introduce the deep philosophical notion of emptiness or nothingness to young readers in a way they may comprehend. They do it through terse sentences and plenty of large pictures — all of them illustrating the concept clearly. They promise that the book would make the readers see the world in a different way, and they are not wrong. Just to give you a hint, among the various examples that the authors present, you will find the space between people in a crowd and the space between leaves and branches of a tree. In most of the cases, the space itself forms interesting pattern and image, which is perceptible though not tangible. Just by a simple change in perspective, our comprehension of the outside world expands manifold as we are not only appreciating the distinct and obvious objects around us — something we have been doing till now — but also appreciating the various patterns and forms which simply ‘do not exist’ or rather we had been ignoring till now. If you are still having difficulty understanding what am I talking about then let me illustrate the idea with another example. In your school homework you must have made several artworks by cutting and pasting. You took a colour paper, cut out a pattern and pasted it on your drawing book or plain white drawing sheet. You used several colour papers and the result was an artwork in collage. Now, take a look at the leftover portions of the colour paper. Note the emptiness in the portion where you cut your piece. Although there is emptiness, there is also a definite form.
The success of the book will depend on the parent or the teacher who will read and explain the book to the child. As in the case of several other books that I have reviewed, here also a lot depends on the storytelling skills of the elder reader. The book opens doors to imagination and new ideas and is certainly unique in its theme and content. The only negative comment I have is regarding the book cover which could have been more colourful and interesting.
This book beautifully describes the concept of nothingness using concrete examples. The illustrations are simple but effective and help illustrate the point. It is a helpful children's book on the concept of mindfulness.
Thanks to Netgalley and Charlesbridge for the ARC of this!
What an interesting look at negative space for young children. My 6 and 9 year old enjoyed it and learned something new. The art being made of cut paper was so neat.
The children loved this book, the concept just had them fascinated. The conversations that followed were wonderful. A great conversation starter.
The art BLOWS MY MIND. Because…it’s cut paper. All of it. How? HOW? Not just the shapes, but also the black outlines? I’m predicting right now that this is going up for a Caldecott next year. The Caldecott is all about the art, and I’ve not seen something this stunning in a long time.
The idea of the book is simple enough: highlighting how negative space grabs attention, makes art, and gives comfort, among other things. It’s a quick read, but has some pretty clever bits.
This feels great for a library or classroom read, especially if paired with a cut paper craft afterward.
Advanced reader copy provided by publisher.
A great book about nothing! I really liked the illustration style, it is so simple yet intriguing. I would definitely read this book with kids.
The book presents the concept of emptiness or nothingness in a different and interesting way, a way that enhances thinking and develops the way we see things, such a unique book for children(and adults too!), which doesn’t necessarily teach a certain moral value, but it helps the child to think differently, and to see things more creatively and cleverly.
Really fascinating concept for both children and adults alike. I really loved the use of bold colours + the absence of colour to represent "nothing". Very clever and mind-opening.
Thank you so much Netgalley, Elizabeth Rusch and Elizabeth Goss for the ARC! It is, without a doubt, one of my most favorite reads of 2022. Who knew the concept of nothingness can be explained so gently and intellectually at the same time?
Nothing exists in the moment before a penalty is taken. Nothing exists when our friends arrange a big surprise and we are so overwhelmed with joy that it renders us speechless. Nothingness gives us the opportunity to be in tune with our souls.
What a wonderful way to teach the youngsters that the absence of something isn't always a bad thing. Rather, it's essential to make our lives meaningful. I'm glad I got to read it. The book made my heart full and I think adults need to read this book as much as the young readers do. When we grow up, we tend to forget how important negative space can be. The narration is captivating and the illustrations are marvelous too. They complement the texts perfectly. Love, Love, Love it. Highly recommended!
We often think that "nothing" doesn't have any importance or meaning but this book helped in changing my perspective. In nothing, there is the potential for everything, from the blank canvas of an artist, to outer space. The contemplation of nothing can lead to even greater things. In a world where everything occupies our mental energy, we’re not making space for nothing. And "nothing" matters. It’s in doing nothing that we often have our best thoughts. It’s in nothing that we might truly face ourselves and maybe think about how to turn up better. And it’s in nothing that creativity has a chance to blossom. A great book to help kids look at things from a different angle and see the silver lining in every cloud!
Negative space is something that not a lot fo people acknowledge or focus on when it comes to art and the world as well. I think this book was a cute, little look into what negative space is, or "nothing" and how it can be used without being filled.
I liked this book. It really allows for students to look at things through another perspective. I would use this to teach perspective. The art teacher might also like this book.
Within such brief pages, the book explored such an expansive concept, and did so in an absolute, consummate manner.
The book explores the main essence of nothingness and how it plays out in our lives and is all around us. (It made me think of mathematics at one point. How whether we accept or deny it, it's always there somewhere. If not eminent, then there in the nooks and crannies.)
This book is a wonderful representation of the balance of nothingness.
P.s: I especially loved the references made through art, and it was an insightful read for me as an artist too.
This picture book introduces the concept of negative space in art and the reality of "nothing" as a force in our everyday lives. Although most people assume that picture books are only for young children, this one is suitable for a broad age range. It would be helpful for an art classroom, and also has an emotional component that people will find helpful for introducing mindfulness concepts.
I absolutely loved this children's book (perfect for adults too!) which teaches how important "nothingness" is in every aspect of our lives. Without the nothing (negative space) surrounding the something, we wouldn't be able to see or distinguish anything. Without the nothing (quiet) that follows our busyness, we wouldn't be able to think, rest, refresh and restore ourselves. Without the pieces of silence in music, it would just sound like noise. This little book challenges our perceptions and reminds us how important it is to have and be grateful for the nothingness in our lives!
My thanks to Charlesbridge for allowing me to read an e-ARC of this children's book via NetGalley. It is scheduled to be published on April 4, 2023. All opinions expressed in this review are my own and are freely given.
//Picked,started and finished//
👀Ever happened that you pick a book,start reading it and boom you have came to the last page?
✨You know there are few books which are so short but have deep meaning to it.This was one such read for me.The author has done an amazing job in executing this book.The concept of 'Nothing' has been given a whole different experience and to be honest,I really found it intriguing.
✨When people asks 'what are you doing' I say,Nothing.But when I say nothing,there is everything.So this book and the lines of this book made me feel that. "NOTHING IS ALWAYS SOMETHING".
🤗Also,the design part of the book has been done in an amazing way.I loved the illustrations,I loved everything!
✔️An impactful,intriguing,short and crisp read which I will recommend to everyone.So,Vivy do give this book a try!You would love it 😙
Lovely illustrations and some insightful ideas and meditations on nothingness great to take away at any age.
A cute little children book. It focuses on looking for what is absent. Stuff that gives rise to reality. Nicely written captions and very nice illustration. Recommended book to see the world differently.
Thank you to NetGalley and Charlesbridge for an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Pub Date: April 2023
I LOVE books like this, that introduce high concepts to children in a very easy-to-understand way. This one especially touched me because I am a mother who has made it my mission to ALWAYS GIVE my daughter to option to say no, and when she is stuck in a situation where she must do something but doesn't want to, I often tell her that she can do nothing for a bit until she's ready. Doing nothing is also a choice she has and it's a good one!
This book introduces the concept of nothing as a beautiful exploration of zen for children. The illustrations are perfect with the use of color and cutouts (seemingly) to illustrate the point. This, to me, is SUCH a powerful concept and this book is a perfect introduction.