In the Palm of My Hand

By Jennifer Raudenbush, illustrated by Isabella Conti. Running Press Kids, 2023. 32 pages. $17.99/hardcover; $9.99/eBook. Recommended for ages 4–7.

This deceptively simple book, by debut author Jennifer Raudenbush, shows how a child might hold the world in the palm of their hand. The illustrator is Isabella Conti, an Italian artist who brings a soft vibrancy with ink and watercolor to this story that imagines the possibilities of nature. An acorn becomes a forest; a caterpillar becomes a cloud of butterflies; a raindrop, the ocean; a grain of sand becomes an entire sandcastle world, complete with dragons. At the end of the day, the child realizes that the palm of their hand holds “nothing . . . but it’s not empty.” The illustration shows the hand and arm as a slice of the night sky, with the planet Saturn and a shooting star moving across a starscape. The final page—a mirror echo of the first—shows the child as a nighttime meadow with a butterfly in the palm of their hand.

This book would be well-paired with Child of the Universe, written by physicist Ray Jayawardhana and illustrated by Raul Colón. It would lead beautifully into a meditation or discussion about how all things on earth and in the heavens are interconnected. There is also a free activity sheet for In the Palm of My Hand available on the publisher’s website to download and print; it involves children tracing their own hand then drawing inside it something from nature that brings them joy.

Alison James is a member of South Starksboro (Vt.) Meeting.

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