Before Morning

There are planes to fly 

and buses to catch,

but sometimes we wish 

for a different sort of day . . .  

a day that’s slow and delightful and white.

In a spare text that reads as pure song and illustrations of astonishingly beautiful scratchboard art, BEFORE MORNING reminds us that sometimes, if spoken from the heart, wishes really can come true. 

“This simply perfect book is a must-have piece of portable poetry and art for all collections.” —*SLJ

Reader’s Guide

News & Honors

  • New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • Amazon Best Book of 2016 for Ages 3-5
  • Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of the Year
  • School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
  • Kirkus Best Book of the Year
  • Booklist Editor’s 2016 Choice
  • Horn Book Fanfare & Mind the Gap Award
  • ALA Notable Book
  • 2017 Notable Book for the Language Arts
  • Nerdy Book Club Best Poetry Book of 2016
  • San Francisco Chronicle Best of 2016
  • 2016 Exhibit of The Society of Illustrators Silver Medal

For more on this book:

Five Questions for Joyce Sidman (Horn Book)

Pictures in My Head (Horn Book)


New York Times

"A keenly perceptive poet, Sidman shows that words and snow both have the power to transform our view of things.”

*Booklist: starred review

"It is rare in picture books to find words and art so perfectly matched, though perhaps not surprising given the talents of Newbery Honor–winning Sidman (Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, 2010) and Caldecott winner Krommes (The House in the Night, 2008)."

*School Library Journal: starred review 

This haunting invocation summons geese, snowflakes, and a heavy whiteness that refracts the golden city lights . . . [a] simply perfect book is a must-have piece of portable poetry and art for all collections.”


*Kirkus: starred review 

"The pacing is perfect. Careful readers will relish the details and concoct back stories of their own . . . . Like a snow day, a special treat with broad appeal.

*Publishers Weekly: starred review

"The story’s parallel but separate threads—the innocent images of the poem, the cheery reassurance of the illustrations, and the tension of the family’s wait—give this collaboration significant emotional depth.” 

*Bulletin: starred review 

"The poetry is brief but lovely, giving voice to many youngsters’ dreams of a blanket of snow.

*Horn Book, starred review: 
"Sidman and Krommes reunite for this picture-book evocation of a child’s hopes. . . . Sidman’s poetic text begins ('In the deep woolen dark, as we slumber unknowing') as Mom, dressed in full [pilot] uniform, departs while her family sleeps. The ensuing incantation is for snow to come ('Let the air turn to feathers, the earth turn to sugar’) . . . . Throughout, Krommes’s illustrations do the narrative work, and a series of wordless spreads at book’s end provides a sweet balance to the front matter’s opening scenes, slowly easing the reader out of this mesmerizing book.” 

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  Copyright © Joyce Sidman 2006-2018.  All rights reserved.