On what side of the 🙏 fence do you sit? Does this emoji represent hands in prayer or two people mid-high five? While Gavin Lucas’s superb new book, The Story of Emoji, does not provide a definitive answer, we love that this is the first book to explain the history and evolution of emoji, from their creation by a Japanese mobile phone provider in the late 1990s to their influence in the visual arts today.

Lucas reminds us that speaking in pictures is culturally specific: did you know that 💮 means “well done” in Japan? Or that 🍆 cannot be hashtagged on Instagram because of its, well, saucy connotations? Lucas also details the artworks, fashion lines and advertising campaigns that have harnessed the communicative finesse of emoji. He includes the deliciously hideous emoji.ink tool that allows users to use emoji to create their own artworks, as well as the Cindy Sherman-icons, created by Hyo Ju Hong, that transform the many expressions of artist Cindy Sherman into highly-nuanced and amusing emoji. Next on our reading lists... Emoji Dick a crowdsourced and Kickstarter-funded translation of Herman Melville's Moby Dick.

But in the meantime, we really do 💗💖💕 this book.

The Story of Emoji is available now on Amazon.