PPBF: The Mediterranean

79225BCA-E2F4-4E87-918F-85444F57B380Author/Illustrator: Armin Greder
Publisher: Allen & Unwin, 2017, originally publ. in Italy
Age: 8+
Themes: refugees, shipwrecks, Mediterranean region
Opening: After he had finished drowning, his body sank slowly to the bottom, where the fish were waiting.

BE720432-243B-4E89-94B9-B68D37B4226ESummary: (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.

F540E815-8E99-4787-A5C5-2786C5340836I 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!

6EEC960E-95FF-44A9-9726-4F170A97F644Resources/Activities: Make this a weekly discussion, where new ideas and thoughts may be brought up to ponder over and over.

3D934AD2-FE41-4445-A713-393EEA208A68For more Perfect Picture Book Friday picks with teacher/parent resources, check out the list on Susanna Hill’s blog HERE.

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PPBF: Clown

ClownCoverAuthor/Illustrator: Quentin Blake
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company, 1995
Ages: 3-8yrs
Themes: wordless stories, toys, home
Summary: (from my library catalog)After being discarded, Clown makes his way through town having a series of adventures as he tries to find a home for himself and his other toy friends.

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I like this book because: I too have once been discarded (some friendships just don’t last), and immediately found myself able to empathize with Clown and understand his struggle to feel secure again. I’m glad he didn’t give up either! Yeah, it made me a little weepy, but happy too! I’ve been on a Quentin Blake spree, reading books he has illustrated and/or written, biography materials and interviews too. Whew – it’s been a fun and enlightening ride! He also helped establish the House of Illustration, a home for the art of illustration. Read more on Blake’s exhibit there- HERE, or a visit to the museum by kid-lit author Pippa Goodhart from the Picture Book Den blog – HERE

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Resources/activities: this is a great book to read when discussing emotions, understanding them, learning the difference between sympathy and empathy, as well as character traits like perseverance. One could also touch on hygiene and why it would be a good thing to clean toys found in the trash before we use (and love!) them.

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For more PPBF selections including resources and activities, go to Susanna Hill’s blog: HERE

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Check out the red button in the sidebar – yes, that one. Click it. Now go make your own – HERE