What makes us human

Original Title:

What makes us human










ISBN: n/a

40 (+end-pages) pages

8.5” x 11” (21,6 x 27,94 cm) - n/a€

what makes us humanwhat makes us humanwhat makes us human

I have been around for a very long time. Longer than toys, dogs, or anyone you know. I am everywhere.

Can you guess what I am?

This book reads as a riddle that readers must solve by the end of the book. Clues are scattered throughout the pages as to what the theme of the book may be.


unpublished project

original language: English


Rights sold: English (USA/CAN/UK), English (India), French (excluding Africa and Middle East), Spanish (world), Basque, Galician, Catalan, Asturian, simplified Chinese, Korean, Arabic (world), Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Italian, Mapuzungun (Chile), Turkish, Farsi, Greek, Japanese, Marathi, Spanish/Hñähñü (bilingual edition in Mexico), Slovenian languages


Awards, special mentions & selections:

⭐ White Ravens list 2023

⭐ Selected for The Unpublished Picture Book Showcase by dPictus 2022

⭐ Selected for the 2023 Bologna Children’s Fair exhibition Beauty and the World: The New Non-Fiction Picture Books

⭐ Supported by UNESCO (see link to the official webpage below)

⭐ Spanish/Mapuzungun edition presented by Yalitza Aparicio, UNESCO’s Goodwill Ambassador for Indigenous Peoples and Mexican actress of Indigenous descent nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in 2018 (video below)


Select reviews: 

“Will make readers wonder more with every turn of a page…illustrations are beautifully rendered…the profundity of the topic of language itself hits its mark. A beautiful addition to all libraries.”

— School Library Journal (STARRED REVIEW)


⭐ “What Makes Us Human does what the best books do. It brings us together, celebrating our differences and commonalities while engaging the reader with beautiful illustrations and text that challenges and rewards.”

– Sydney Smith, author/illustrator of Small in the City (a Kate Greenway Medal & Governor General’s winner) and of Sidewalk Flowers (a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book)


⭐ “A beautifully illustrated book about our shared humanity. An engaging read and wonderful concept” 

– Felicita Sala, author/illustrator of Dark on Light, Be a Tree, Arno and His Horse, and All from a Walnut


⭐ “A thoughtfully guided quest for the identity of a narrator both foreign and familiar. Forlati’s textural mixed-media illustrations offer a map of meaningful keys and symbols.”

– Ellen Heck, author/illustrator of A is for Bee (a New York Times Best Children’s Book of 2022)


⭐ “As you cross time and space and solve a riddle full of beautiful metaphors, an amazing answer awaits at the end to make us look at our existence in a new way.”

– JiHyun Kim, author/illustrator of The Depth of the Lake and The Height of the Sky (a New York Public Library Best Book of 2022)


⭐ “What Makes Us Human, through its journey of searching for the identity of the narrator, opens a vast window to understanding the world and ourselves. ‘I’ becomes a tree, putting down roots; a river, threading time; it transforms into a beautiful song and into the thunderous sounds of a pouring bombardment. Gradually, ‘I’ becomes ‘You’ and morphs into ‘Us.’”

– Hyo-eun Kim, author/illustrator of I am the Subway (a New York Times’ Best Illustrated Children’s Book of 2021)



Official page of What Makes Us Humans on the UNESCO website:


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