- TITLE: Hello! Hello!
- WRITTEN & ILLUSTRATED BY: Matthew Cordell
- PAGES: 40
- ISBN: 9781423159063
- Available on Amazon, here.
As a tech loving engineer, when I saw this book on the shelf I absolutely had to grab it. I love the vibrant blue color and the computer-esque font on the cover. Just based on the illustration on the front I knew this would be a topic I’d love to read to Addison because it’s something I myself am fascinated with – the juxtaposition of technology and nature. The book is sizable which makes it a fun read because we can lay it out on the floor and really enjoy all of the imagery. The book itself contains very little text, so much of the story must be inferred which does make it a bit more difficult to read through but nonetheless intriguing.
Super Speedy Summary
For this book, it’s a little difficult to write a summary considering there is very little text and the story is told mostly through images. However, I will try my best! The story follows a little girl as she tries to say “hello” to her family members – who are all engrossed in their electronic devices. Seeing she won’t get the response she is looking for, the girl ventures outside and begins exploring nature. She says “hello” to the outside world and it responds! Sadly, her parents are worried about her disappearance and call her – when her phone rings, all the excitement around her in the outside world halts. Finally, she returns and swaps out her family’s devices with natural elements (leaves, flowers, etc.) and they too have their own eyes opened to the world around them.
As simple as the book is to read, I believe the message is incredibly complex and interesting. There are several things I was able to pull out of the text that are excellent lessons and subtle truths. First, I appreciate a book that addresses the contrast and relationship between people, technology and nature – which was the inspiration for this photo of course.
When the girl is trying to engage with her family members and they ignore her for their devices, it saddened me as that is a truth in our world. It’s such an interesting dichotomy – the fact that the internet and electronics have exposed us to a world of connection yet at the same time we lose the physical connection with those around us. If nothing else, this book speaks to that dichotomy and one way we can move to address it. Exploring the world, getting “one with nature”, all of these things can eventually bring us closer together. That’s not to say there isn’t a place for technology and that it is not useful, but it is to say that we cannot lose touch with the world!
It reminds me of how the Wii tell you to “take a break and go play outside”. I always found that hilarious, but at the same time, a good reminder to get some fresh air.
The other, more subtle and thought provoking piece of this book was the fact that when the girl went outside, she said “HELLO WORLD”. That may seem like no big deal, that may seem to make sense. But from a technological perspective, that single phrase is everything. For some background, in nearly every computer programming language, the first thing you learn to code is “Hello World”. Think about that for a second. As you’re learning a brand new computer programming language the first thing you learn to create is a string of text that says hello world. So when she said that phrase in the book, it stopped me. I thought, wow now that is deep! Her first exposure as far as we know to the outside world, and she greets it in that way.
I like to believe Mr. Cordell knew about this expression and the power of it, and tucked it away neatly into the book because it shows the interconnection of technology and the natural world. I don’t believe that this book is a criticism of technology and our relationship to it, at all. Rather, I believe that this book addresses the relationship and how we can try to balance the two – by intertwining them.
This book isn’t saying technology is bad. It is saying we can foster a symbiotic relationship between technology and nature, if we give each the time it deserves. Tech has its place, as does the outside world and once we understand that relationship, our own relationships between one another can grow as well.
For me personally, this book felt very deep and was incredibly thought provoking. I appreciated the subtlety of the phrase “Hello World” and how it tied the whole story together. We give this book 4 1/2 stars, only losing that last 1/2 star because it could have been just a little longer to really drive home the point.
In just 2 short days we will have yet another book review for you to enjoy – can’t wait!
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