Kumo

The Bashful Cloud

Illustrated by Nathalie Dion
Look inside
The uplifting journey of a bashful cloud ("kumo" in Japanese) who discovers the rewards of feeling seen.

Kumo is a cloud whose only wish is to float unseen. When she’s assigned cloud duty for the day, she feels overwhelmed by self-doubt and her fear of being noticed. But after learning that closing your eyes isn’t a good solution to your troubles, Kumo pulls her fluff together and does her duties — drifting, releasing rain and providing shelter — meeting some new friends along the way and inspiring the imagination (and capturing the heart) of a small daydreamer like her. 
 
Kyo Maclear’s sweetly humorous and lyrical parable about shyness, vividly brought to life by Nathalie Dion’s ethereal illustrations, is an affirmation of the pleasures of community and the confidence that can arise from friendship and visibility.
KYO MACLEAR is an award-winning novelist, essayist, and children's author. Her books have been translated into eighteen languages and published in over twenty-five countries. She is the author of the hybrid memoir Birds Art Life (2017), winner of the Trillium Book Award. Kyo holds a doctorate in environmental humanities and is on faculty at the University of Guelph Creative Writing MFA.
View titles by Kyo Maclear
NATHALIE DION is a freelance children's and editorial illustrator based in Montreal. She graduated with a degree in design arts from Concordia University. Her work has been published around the world and has received many accolades, including nominations for the Governor General's Literary Award, the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award nomination and a citation from the Prix Espiègle. She has also created illustrations for the Boston Globe, Dialogue MD magazine, Parents magazine and Family Circle magazine. View titles by Nathalie Dion
  • WINNER | 2023
    Golden Kite Award for Picture-Illustration
  • HONOR | 2023
    Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable - Sheila Barry Best Canadian Picturebook of the Year Award
  • HONOR | 2022
    Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award
"Dion’s vivid illustrations, inspired by Impressionist paintings, reflect the sky’s expressiveness. . . . Kumo will impart a new appreciation for clouds and show readers how it can sometimes be frightening to step into the world, then [reassure] them that others are willing to help when we overcome our bashfulness." —STARRED REVIEW, Quill & Quire

"Nathalie Dion masterfully renders the journey of Kumo through the use of a rich palette of colours. . . . The reader revels at the richness of representation of the sky and clouds — sometimes reminiscent of Turner's or Monet's artwork — along with the exquisite depiction of landscapes and cityscapes." —Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Jury/IBBY Canada

"[F]or young readers who may themselves feel anxious about finding their place and making friends . . . [a] quiet, satisfying tale about being brave enough to take that first step." —Kirkus Reviews

"An excellent . . . read-aloud to help children understand their own reticence about being seen, this story also shows the many ways they can be present, as individuals or part of a group." —School Library Journal

"Maclear writes a tale as light and lilting as its cloud hero. . . . Quiet, sweeping panoramas, often in sunrise colors, nurture the sense of calm that comes with broad perspectives and new connections. . . . [a] memorable story about coming into one's own." —Publishers Weekly


"After reading this book, young and old readers alike are sure to gain an even greater appreciation for clouds. Every time we look up at the sky, we’ll likely think of Kumo." —Montreal Review of Books

"Kyo Maclear’s touching story about shyness shows how little Kumo changes her anxious feelings to confidence by being active and enjoying the beauty and friendships of the world around her. Maclear’s style of prose is almost poetic and adds a gentleness to the subject of bashfulness, which can be so difficult for young children." —CM Reviews

"Learning a few Japanese words is a fun bonus in this beautifully illustrated book." —Midwest Book Review

"Nathalie Dion’s ethereal illustrations bring the story of Kumo to life, fitting perfectly with Kyo Maclear’s lyrical parable about a shy little cloud exploring the world and making new friends along the way." —Quebec Library Association

About

The uplifting journey of a bashful cloud ("kumo" in Japanese) who discovers the rewards of feeling seen.

Kumo is a cloud whose only wish is to float unseen. When she’s assigned cloud duty for the day, she feels overwhelmed by self-doubt and her fear of being noticed. But after learning that closing your eyes isn’t a good solution to your troubles, Kumo pulls her fluff together and does her duties — drifting, releasing rain and providing shelter — meeting some new friends along the way and inspiring the imagination (and capturing the heart) of a small daydreamer like her. 
 
Kyo Maclear’s sweetly humorous and lyrical parable about shyness, vividly brought to life by Nathalie Dion’s ethereal illustrations, is an affirmation of the pleasures of community and the confidence that can arise from friendship and visibility.

Author

KYO MACLEAR is an award-winning novelist, essayist, and children's author. Her books have been translated into eighteen languages and published in over twenty-five countries. She is the author of the hybrid memoir Birds Art Life (2017), winner of the Trillium Book Award. Kyo holds a doctorate in environmental humanities and is on faculty at the University of Guelph Creative Writing MFA.
View titles by Kyo Maclear
NATHALIE DION is a freelance children's and editorial illustrator based in Montreal. She graduated with a degree in design arts from Concordia University. Her work has been published around the world and has received many accolades, including nominations for the Governor General's Literary Award, the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award nomination and a citation from the Prix Espiègle. She has also created illustrations for the Boston Globe, Dialogue MD magazine, Parents magazine and Family Circle magazine. View titles by Nathalie Dion

Awards

  • WINNER | 2023
    Golden Kite Award for Picture-Illustration
  • HONOR | 2023
    Vancouver Children's Literature Roundtable - Sheila Barry Best Canadian Picturebook of the Year Award
  • HONOR | 2022
    Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Award

Praise

"Dion’s vivid illustrations, inspired by Impressionist paintings, reflect the sky’s expressiveness. . . . Kumo will impart a new appreciation for clouds and show readers how it can sometimes be frightening to step into the world, then [reassure] them that others are willing to help when we overcome our bashfulness." —STARRED REVIEW, Quill & Quire

"Nathalie Dion masterfully renders the journey of Kumo through the use of a rich palette of colours. . . . The reader revels at the richness of representation of the sky and clouds — sometimes reminiscent of Turner's or Monet's artwork — along with the exquisite depiction of landscapes and cityscapes." —Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Canadian Picture Book Jury/IBBY Canada

"[F]or young readers who may themselves feel anxious about finding their place and making friends . . . [a] quiet, satisfying tale about being brave enough to take that first step." —Kirkus Reviews

"An excellent . . . read-aloud to help children understand their own reticence about being seen, this story also shows the many ways they can be present, as individuals or part of a group." —School Library Journal

"Maclear writes a tale as light and lilting as its cloud hero. . . . Quiet, sweeping panoramas, often in sunrise colors, nurture the sense of calm that comes with broad perspectives and new connections. . . . [a] memorable story about coming into one's own." —Publishers Weekly


"After reading this book, young and old readers alike are sure to gain an even greater appreciation for clouds. Every time we look up at the sky, we’ll likely think of Kumo." —Montreal Review of Books

"Kyo Maclear’s touching story about shyness shows how little Kumo changes her anxious feelings to confidence by being active and enjoying the beauty and friendships of the world around her. Maclear’s style of prose is almost poetic and adds a gentleness to the subject of bashfulness, which can be so difficult for young children." —CM Reviews

"Learning a few Japanese words is a fun bonus in this beautifully illustrated book." —Midwest Book Review

"Nathalie Dion’s ethereal illustrations bring the story of Kumo to life, fitting perfectly with Kyo Maclear’s lyrical parable about a shy little cloud exploring the world and making new friends along the way." —Quebec Library Association

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