I pride myself on reading many different types of children’s books, and every once in a while, I discover an uncharted territory. Walking Through a World of Aromas ($16.95, Cuento de Luz, Ages 7-10 ) written by Ariel Andrés Almada, is a most original and enchanting story that will warm your child’s heart.
Annie is a girl who was born without the gift of sight. From an early age, she understood she was different than other children. She uses touch to make her way through her dark world, and it isn’t long before Annie realizes that her intense ability to smell can guide her through her life. She cooks with her grandmother and learns how to mix spices, sending incredible aromas wafting through the air, attracting the attention of the residents in Annie’s village. The smells make those villagers “curiously happy,” so they come to Annie to taste her magical mixtures of spices and awaken their most splendid emotions.
As the years go by, there is one villager, named Julian, who is around the same age as Annie, and who suffers from sadness and lethargy. No matter what spices she mixes, Annie does not seem to be able to help him. The two start spending a lot of time together, developing a close friendship and admiration. In the end, it is Annie’s grandmother who helps her “see the light,” showing her how to help her friend – and herself.
What I love about this book is that the story has a fairy tale quality, yet the book teaches young readers three very important lessons: 1) We are all unique, and that’s a good thing; 2) We can learn to turn our weaknesses into strengths to find our way in the world; 3) By sharing our strengths with others we can all make the world a much better place. The illustrations by Sonja Wimmer are winsome and so delightful to admire.
It really makes a statement that I, with so many books here waiting to be opened and reviewed, make the time to read this particular book not just once, but twice!
Note: This book has a lot more text than you’d expect from a picture book, but it can easily be read to children too young to read at this level. Also note that this book is available in a Spanish language version.
– Reviewed by Debbie Glade