Author/Illustrator: Armin Greder
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, 2017, originally publ. in Italy
Themes: refugees, shipwrecks, Mediterranean region
Opening: After he had finished drowning, his body sank slowly to the bottom, where the fish were waiting.
Summary: (from my library’s catalog) A lifeless body. One of many in the waters of the Mediterranean. Precarious boats navigate the waters of the sea, from south to north. And more often than not, it is not only hope that drowns. The author and illustrator uses his distinctive charcoal drawings to depict a dark world with a global dimension. The only words in the story are a single sentence indicating what is happening to the body in the water in the first picture. From there on the reader needs to examine the pictures to draw conclusions about how that body came to be in the sea. An afterword by Alessandro Leogrande, an Italian journalist who writes about social, political and environmental issues, fills in thebackground about the ‘food chain’ portrayed in this disturbing picture book which demands discussion.
I like this book because: It is so powerful! Migration has always been an important issue, but especially now in it’s forced impact, and of our time on earth, and, I believe, one we will have to deal with on a myriad of levels and layers all over the world at least for the rest of my lifetime. And a wordless picture book may be the perfect vehicle for discussion. The execution makes the very best use of strong yet simple composition and contrast, limited palette, and loose rendering to deliver equally on an emotional and thought-provoking level. Pow!
Resources/Activities: Make this a weekly discussion, where new ideas and thoughts may be brought up to ponder over and over.
For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.