Literary Excerpts

What's in a Word: Curious Expressions From Around the World

by Ella Frances Sanders

"Even Monkeys Fall From Trees." Art by Ella Frances Sanders.

Here at Fathom HQ, we're obsessed with foreign languages; learning new words allows for instant transport to another place and culture. Ella Frances Sanders' Illustrated Book of Sayings unlocks phrases that are unusual and delightful to the ears and, through charming illustrations, easy on the eyes. 

The expressions in The Illustrated Book of Sayings were collected in various ways: I grew up with a few, stumbled across others, and heard about the rest through research and suggestions. I see the book as an illustrated manual of openness, a gentle reminder that we are made of the same stuff, carry the same emotions around in our pockets, and experience nuanced versions of similar feelings wherever we are in the world, whatever sort of life we think we may be leading. What's endlessly fascinating to me is the constant overlapping and underlapping interplay between feelings and the words or phrases people have to express them.

Click through to see our five favorite sayings.

Illustrated Book of Sayings


Collect all 52 proverbs.
The Illustrated Book of Sayings: Curious Expressions from Around the World, by Ella Frances Sanders

Reprinted from The Illustrated Book of Sayings Copyright © 2016 by Ella Frances Sanders. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.

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