Here & There | Thea Lu


Coming (in English) April 23rd, 2024 from Eerdmans Books for Young Readers; 36 pages

About the Author: “Thea Lu is an illustrator, designer, and picture book maker based in Shanghai. She earned an MA in design strategy from China’s Tsinghua University and an MA in children’s book illustration from the Cambridge School of Art. Thea’s work has won the Sebastian Walker Award in the UK and has also been honored in Italy, Poland, and China. Here and There is her picture book debut” (Bio from book). 

Find Thea Lu on the following platforms:

“In moments like these, they both feel so close to the world.”

Here & There is a beautifully crafted picture book that follows two characters that, on the surface, live vastly different lives. Dan, a small café owner, has resided in the same town for his entire life. While he loves the familiarity of his town—the people and the views out of his window—he often wonders what the world is like outside of this life and how his life would have been different if he had taken another path. Aki, a sailor of the sea, travels day-by-day; he’s never been grounded in one place. This life has given him countless sights and adventures, but he wonders what it’d be like to call somewhere home. Despite their different paths, Dan and Aki both feel “distanced from the world” at times, but when they remember the people they’ve met along the way, that distance becomes lessened. 

Thea Lu’s debut picture book, Here & There, manages to evoke the feeling of community in the midst of isolation. The two characters, Dan and Aki, experience isolation in their own ways, each having lived the same lives for years. By the end of the story, they recall memories and experiences with familiar faces and even strangers, and they discover that they’re not so isolated after all. Despite the repetition in their routines, the act of meeting and learning about new people gives them the opportunity to appreciate their lives and the choices that they’ve made up to now. This message was gracefully told through distinctive language, poetic formatting, and compelling illustrations. I found myself slowing down and thinking about my own life, the people in it, the decisions I’ve made… a simple interaction with a stranger that made my whole day. It’s beautiful to take a second and think about the seemingly unimportant encounters we have each day, only to realize that they’ve truly made an impact in your life, whether that be big or small. I think that’s what this book is all about, acknowledging the choices that have led you to here (or there) and appreciating who or what has been with you along the way. I highly recommend this picture book to people of all ages so that they can experience the beauty in slowing down and cherishing those around you. 

The English version of Here & There releases on April 23rd, 2024.

Pine Reads Review would like to thank Eerdmans Books for Young Readers for sending us an ARC in exchange for an honest review. Any quotes are taken from an advanced reader copy and may be subject to change before final publication.

Danielle Francesconi, Pine Reads Review Writer & Social Media Intern