Flying in our Imagination

DSC05868I’ve been reading with my neighbor Karishma since she was about 4. She’s now 7 and reading on her own, but she still likes it when I read to her — and now, she likes to read to me, too.

She came over recently and grabbed all her favorite books off the shelf and sorted through them, trying to decide which one to read first.


She stopped and asked me, “How come all these books have Flying Eye on them?”


“That’s the name of the publisher,” I said.

“What’s a publisher?”

So I got to explain to her how books were made and a little bit on the publishing industry.  I explained to her why I liked independent publishers.  You can pretty much be assured that if you like one of their books, you’re going to like others.  They often bring in new writers and publish books that some bigger publishers won’t take a risk on, since publishing books is very expensive.

We looked at all our favorite picture books and found they were published either by Flying Eye or Enchanted Lion, (except Arnie the Doughnut by Laurie Keller, which was published by Henry Holt.)

“But why do they call it Flying Eye?” she asked.

“I’m not sure.  What do you think?”

She thought for a minute and shuffled through the books.  “I think it means the stories help our eyes fly into our imagination and follow stories. ”

“I think you’re right.”

So we let our imagination fly into our latest Flying Eye book, Tough Guys Have Feelings, Too, by Keith Negly.


I was a little reluctant to share this one because Karishma’s family is all girls, but she loved it.

Negley’s vivid illustrations show very tough looking guys having emotions, even, tears.


We sometimes see little boys cry, but we never see grown men of any sort cry –  not in books, movies, or even real life. In short but poignant text, this fun book gave us a chance to empathize with men.


I’ve had a chance to read Tough Guys to several children, now,  and often the first reaction is laughter.  Then, there’s lots of room for discussion on why it seems funny for bikers to cry, and how hard it must be for tough guys to be tough all the time.


Karishma felt that she, too, had to be tough. When she has trouble in school, when she’s being pestered by sisters or cousins, when she’s having a blue day – she has to act tough.  She also thinks she’d make a great superhero.


Karishma is also a budding toy doctor.


I had a toy tough guy, who she decided needed work.


She diagnosed him with a hard head, and proceed to tattoo hearts on him, especially his head, with a pink sharpie.  “He’s a heart-headed guy now,” she said.  Unfortunately she ran off with him to show her mom before I got a picture of the new and improved toy.

Keith Negly is a nationally recognized editorial and children’s book illustrator with 15 years experience working for major newspapers, magazines and publishers. Tough Guys is his debut children’s book


Flying Eye books always have great endpapers, are well-bound and put up with a lot of kid-handling without showing wear on their hard covers.

For other Flying Eye Book reviews check out the following posts.  And check out their website, too.

This post is a part of Children’s Book Week, May 2 – 8.  I’m posting on children’s books every day this week.  To find more great children’s books, check out the Children’s Book Week website.  They have a list of events going on all over the country, maybe one near you.  You can find links to their facebook and twitter pages there, too.

Here are links to the first two posts of the week:

Monday: The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

Tuesday:  I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton

If you meet a guy today that seems too tough, just remember he has feelings, too, and one day, he may be lucky enough to show them.

Thanks for reading my blog.

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