Ask a Bookseller: A picture book for when it’s hard to get the words out

All September, Ask a Bookseller will be featuring recommendations for kids and teens. 

“I Talk Like a River,” written by poet Jordan Scott
“I Talk Like a River,” written by poet Jordan Scott and illustrated by Sydney Smith.
Courtesy of Neal Porter Books

First up: Harriett Logan of Loganberry Books in Cleveland, Ohio, recommended the picture book “I Talk Like a River,” with an inventive metaphor that reframes stuttering.

It’s written by poet Jordan Scott, based on his own experience, and illustrated by Sydney Smith.

The story follows a boy through a frustrating day of school where his stutter gets in the way of all the things he wants to say. After school, his father brings him to his favorite place — the river — and asks him to watch how the current ripples and eddies and rushes.

“You talk like a river,” his father tells him. This beautiful metaphor becomes a point of calm and pride for the boy. 

The pictures match the mood, transitioning from brown hues to big swirling blues at the riverside, Logan says.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.