Lines, Squiggles, Letters, Words

Lines, Squiggles, Letters, Words


Written by Ruth Rocha
Illustrated by Madalena Matoso
Translated from Portuguese by Lyn Miller-Lachmann

A 2017 USBBY Outstanding International Book

A child who has not yet learned how to read looks out at the world and sees language as such a child would: as lines and squiggles that don't exactly make pictures but don't seem to make anything else either. Then, when the child starts to go to school and begins to learn his letters, his way of seeing begins to change.

ISBN: 978-1-59270-208-4
9" (W) x 11" (H) • 40 pages • HCJ

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A 2017 USBBY Outstanding International Book
A Cooperative Children's Book Center (CCBC) Choice Selection for 2017

"Rocha’s text is marvelously child-centered, never leaving Pedro’s perspective and realistically evoking the way letter acquisition turns nonsense into sense for most children. Matoso’s striking, posterlike illustrations use a limited palette of, mostly, red, pink, blue, black, and olive, allowing figures and patterns to occasionally merge with negative space, visually reinforcing the mental gymnastics involved in deciphering letters, her awareness of environmental print as keen as Pedro’s. This will have many children looking for meaning all around them." —Kirkus Reviews

"It's a smart, thoughtful chronicle of learning in action, and it would pair well with Sergio's Ruzzier's recent This Is Not a Picture Book! for discussions about how literacy transforms the unfamiliar into the known." —Publishers Weekly

"A wonderful celebration of the way words work, and a reminder than reading is as much as about visual literacy as it is about text literacy." —Kids' Book Review

If you’ve ever traveled internationally to a place where you don’t speak the language it can feel a little overwhelming at first. Simple things like deciphering shop and street signs takes more mental energy than normal. Which is exactly what I remember from my younger years, when first learning how to read. Then, almost suddenly it seems, symbols, shapes, and letters finally come into focus. And an entirely new world unfolds. One you can’t help feel a little excited about. Because now you can read every billboard and bus number with newfound wonder. Do you remember that sensation? Experience it once again in this exceptional take on literacy and language acquisition.” —Miranda Rosbach, My Bookbloom

Madalena Matoso draws the book from Pedro’s perspective so we watch as letters begin to appear on billboards, street signs, his local bus, and packaging in his house until finally all the squiggles have been transformed into words. It’s brilliantly done with bold, bright colors and stellar array of patterns.” —Heidi Shira Bender, Split Rock Books (Cold Spring, NY)

”’Lines, Squiggles, Letters & Words’ reminds us of what the world must look like to our kiddos who are still learning how to read, and how exciting it is when letters begin to combine and make sense. ‘But the miracle continued to happen. Each new letter Pedro learned appeared everywhere he went.’ Literacy is indeed a miracle.” —Natalie d’Aubermont Thompson, Living by the Page


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