Sunflowers Rise in a Midnight Sky | written by Avery Davis & illustrated by Tang Wei


Coming January 31st, 2024 from Empyrean Press; 39 pages

About the Author: “Avery Davis graduated in Environmental Law. She lives half the year in Cordova, Alaska as a fisherman’s wife and the other half drying off in the deserts of Utah. She is the mother of three who loves a good bedtime story” (Bio from Sunflowers Rise in a Midnight Sky). 

About the Illustrator: “Tang Wei is a rising young Chinese illustrator from Sichuan province. She is a graduate of Sichuan Xihua University’s animation program and was a 2021 Finalist in the Shanghai International Children’s Book Fair’s Golden Pinwheel Illustration Awards. Tang Wei was surrounded by her seamstress mother’s material, buttons, zippers, patterns and thread while growing up. They’ve stayed with her and Tang’s unique illustrations are inspired by Chinese, Nepalese, and Indian embroidery” (Bio from Sunflowers Rise in a Midnight Sky).

Find Tang Wei on the following platforms: 

“Books open and read themselves aloud. Receiving boisterous applause from the crowd.”

Sunflowers Rise in a Midnight Sky is a fantastical picture book that brings a child’s imagination to life. Through a sequence of surreal imagery and poetic lines, the reader embarks on a journey of dreams and what-ifs. What if Saturn’s rings fell from the sky? What if street signs could tell us secrets? What if the grass turned purple? These questions, along with many others, are explored in mixed-media illustrations that effortlessly catch the eye. Fostering a visionary space for children, Sunflowers Rise in a Midnight Sky falls under a unique category of picture books that lead one to ponder the curiosities of life. 

Avery Davis masterfully reels us into a dreamlike state with her wording choices and the rhythm she creates on the page. The rhyme schemes allow the words to flow in a lyrical manner where the book feels as if it’s reading itself to you. Likewise, the structure of the lines flowing freely on the page, literally making you tilt your head, constructs an interactive experience that lets you fully dive into the story. There’s not one second when you want to peel your eyes from the pages. Though the small text on some pages occasionally makes it difficult to read, the overall design was pleasing to the eye. With the addition of Tang Wei’s colorful and textural illustrations, the book immerses its readers into an ingenious world that children are bound to adore. The illustrations are wondrous, incorporating a multitude of textures that pop-out on the page. The imagery is bright, shimmery, tangible, and completely original. Whether you’re a child or an adult, this book is a must read. It embraces curiosity and wonder in the most beautiful way. Sunflowers Rise in a Midnight Sky gives children a glimpse into a magical realm of creativity where dreams really do come to life.

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

Danielle Francesconi, Pine Reads Review Writer & Social Media Intern