In the poetic picture book When You Breathe by Diana Farid, illustrated by Billy Renkl (Cameron + Company, 2020), the author, a physician, describes the connections between the wind and air around us and the breath that sustains our lives. Beginning with a breath that “fills the upside tree” in our lungs, Farid continues the analogy to a tree all the way down to the blooms and buds on the ends of a tree’s branches, making a seemingly effortless introduction to the bronchioles in our lungs without even using the scientific term.
Subsequent pages highlight the result of air in your lungs: your movement and the vibration on your vocal cords, as well as a connection to the stars and the world around you. All this information is conveyed in fewer words than this review has used. Gorgeous mixed media illustrations complement the text, with golden stars representing the moving air throughout. An end matter page defines scientific terms for anyone interested in teaching more.