This is an example of a picture book that should not be categorized as being only for children. The passages of short simple text and the expansive illustrations that pull the reader in, combine to set a powerfully moving tone that holds you in it’s grips until the final page. The names and hijab clad women could make this book a refugee tale with #muslimsintheillustrations, but because the author is Muslim, and the book so beautiful, I wanted to do a full review. Some of the vocabulary is a bit advanced for younger children, so I think the best application of this book is not to hand it to a small child to read independently, but rather to read it to a child and let the words tickle their hearts while they immerse themselves in the pictures. I look forward to sharing this book at story time to kindergarten through third grade. I think the imagery, concepts, and emotion will resonate and open minds and hearts.
Salih is like a turtle, he carries his home on his back. He and others are heading to the sea. He tries to remember when things were better, and forget the bad times.
An old man shows him how to paint. Salih shares this creativity with others. Then he slips all the paintings into bottles and when he is on the rough sea, the bottles float away.
The storm rages, but then it calms, and land is seen, and hopes and dreams return.
We, collectively, have become numb, apathetic even, to the plight of refugees. I have been trying for a while to get this book from Australia, and even though I am over a year late since its publication, it is still timely. It will always be timely.
We cannot be so arrogant to dismiss the plights and challenges faced by those in our world. That is why I say, yes it is a children’s book, but people of all ages, need to be reminded. It isn’t the worst of the worst incidents that need to only be shared, or the over the top happy stories. We need to not let our hearts grow so hard. And this gentle book, with a sweet boy and turtle shell imagery has a lot of potential to remind us of the human element of global conflict.
Available to purchase in the USA here