Thursday, November 19, 2015

My two blankets by Irena Kobald and Freya Blackwood

Because of war a young girl and her Auntie move from their warm, colourful country to a new country of steel, concrete, and cold.  The language of the people seems as cold as the place they live and the young girl feels alone and lost.  With all the strangeness around her it is reassuring to return to her home and surround herself with the warmth and familiarity of her own words and language - it is like an old blanket that is warm and soft.  It was hard to go out sometimes and sometimes it was hard to leave the old blanket behind - and then one day she meets a girl at the local park and things begin to change.  This stranger begins to help the girl learn the language that seems so cold and strange, giving her the gift of words that seem strange at first and then become familiar.

If I only had one word to describe My two blankets it would be gorgeous - if I had two words it would be gorgeous and moving.  This book really touched me, probably because my own family moved to New Zealand from Indonesia and had to learn not only  a new language, but also a completely new culture.  What could have been a dry and preachy tale about how difficult it is to live in a new country is instead a rich and warm story that captures your heart through the simple act of kindness from one child to another.  I have shared this book out loud with a few group of preschoolers and they enjoyed the story while the adults enjoyed the message.  

I would highly recommend this book to any parent who wants to help their young children understand what it is like to come from another country - especially poignant at the moment with all the Syrian refugees and migrants moving into Europe.  I would also highly recommend this book as a really touching portrayal of how easily children can make friends, and that children just don't see the world in the same way adults do - they are much more accepting of change and difference.

If you like this book then try:
  • The seeds of friendship by Michael Foreman
  • The name jar by Yangsook Choi
  • The colour of home by Mary Hoffman; illustrated by Karin Littlewood
  • The sandwich swap by Queen Rania of Jordan Al Abdulah with Kelly DiPucchio; illustrated by Tricia Tusa

Reviewed by Brilla

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