This beautifully illustrated book with simple text and story, is heartwarming and powerful in conveying emotion about child refugees.
The 32 pages tell the story of young Lubna who has escaped something horrible and picks up a pebble when she and her father reach their new home, a World of Tents. She finds a felt tip pen and draws a face on the pebble and the pebble becomes her friend. She tells it her secrets, her dreams, she keeps it warm as winter approaches.
Then a little boy arrives, Amir, and Lubna and he become friends and she introduces him to Pebble. One day Lubna learns she is leaving the tents to go to a new home and even though Pebble is still her best friend, she knows Amir needs him more.
This book is truly a picture book, as the text is made magical because of the pictures. The simplicity and love that Lubna feels for a rock reveals how much pain she has seen without details having to be given. The fact that Amir doesn’t laugh or find being friends with a rock odd, cements the idea that these children have seen too much. The compassion that Lubna displays by passing on her beloved Pebble also shows how much love and comfort they have, we all have, to give.
The book has many layers, and the superficial one makes it a sweet story for children as young as four, the deeper understanding would appeal to kids up to 2nd or 3rd grade. There is no mention of religion, culture, or a specific country. I think Muslim children will assume Amir and Lubna are Muslim, but really the names could be from any culture or faith.