Book Recommendation – Once Upon A Memory

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My final choice of the year for Picture Book Perfect Friday just happens to be one of my absolute favorite releases this year!

17269360Title: Once Upon a Memory

Author: Nina Laden

Illustrator: Renata Liwska

Published by Little Brown, December 2013

Ages: 3-6

Themes: Memory, cycles of change in nature/life

This can be purchased in hardcover or as an eBook.

Opening Lines: Does a feather remember it once was … … a bird?


The first double-paged spread is wordless. It is a a tender bedroom scene of a young boy surrounded by his stuffed animals when a gust of wind wafts a feather into the room. The pages continue with a series of questions about the nature of change and memory in nature and life. The real is transformed into fantasy as the animals participate in the before and after moments on the pages, where the reader takes a whimsical look at a chair which was once a tree or a more abstract look at an island that was once alone.

Why I like this book:

Poetic musings/questions about the transitions in life, both in nature and in the abstract. It is a lyrical pot-pourri of philosophy, biology and memory. The text and Liwska’s pencil and mixed media illustrations have a dreamy quality that draw the reader into the experience. The rhyme is gentle and wonderfully unexpected, though children will naturally want to leap in and try and predict the answers. This is a quiet but utterly captivating book on memory – a delight to eye, ear and heart! It concludes by asking the child if she/he will remember their childhood. I think this is the sort of book a child will treasure for years.

  • The author and illustrator have made a list of some of their favorite things to remember at the end of the book. This would be a delightful activity for a child, too. 
  • You could also ask the origins of a series of objects.

Nina Laden’s website:

Renata Liwska’s website:
Thank you to Little Brown for providing a copy of the book for un unbiased review.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.



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18 Responses to Book Recommendation – Once Upon A Memory

  1. I am *so* hoping that Santa leaves this beauty in my stocking!
    Can’t wait to read it!

  2. On my Christmas list, the list for myself!

  3. This book sounds absolutely wonderful. The first line made me draw in my breath in delight. Before I even finished reading your review, I hurried to the library website and requested it. Thank you for sharing this with us, Joanna.

    May you have a wonderful, restorative holiday season.

  4. Nina says:

    Thank you, Joanna, for this beautiful review of my book on this magical snowy morning. It is a true Christmas blessing! Happiest of Holidays to you and your readers.

  5. What a beautiful story! You really have captured the essence of the story in your review. I love quiet and inquisitive books related to the cycles of nature. Thank you for sharing. Happy Holidays!

  6. It sounds like a beautiful book that can be appreciated by all ages and on so many levels! Your review gave a terrific sense of it and makes us all want to read it.

  7. Joanna says:

    Teresa, yes, it is a timeless book for all ages!

  8. Beautiful, Joanna. The cover alone grabs me, thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful Christmas with friends and hoping 2014 is all you wish it to be.

  9. Sounds so sweet! Can’t wait to find it. 🙂

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