This is the story of a young child and her family, who leave their home by the sea in search of a safe place. When war reaches its dark hands into their city and their family, the child and her family set off on a journey. The children pack all their things, and hide in the arms of their mother as they drive, ride, walk, climb, and float towards refuge. Their mother shelters them with strength and hope, and her gentle-fierce determination draws at my mother-heart with deep respect. Forgetting all the politics and the statistics, these children simply invite us into their journey in an incredible and difficult tale, based on true stories that refugees shared with the author, Francesca Sanna.
Francesca Sanna. Guys. Her simple, modern illustrations put ideas and words into images in haunting and compelling pictures. She says so much without words, and helped even my three-year old begin to understand the range of emotions that accompany this story. Alluring layers of color and flora, Sanna expresses such a difficult story in the most beautiful way possible. She imagines details that I can imagine this mother pointing out to help her children along the way: helping their hearts (and mind) grab on to all the pieces of beauty and hope in the middle of fear and darkness.
Whether you are a family looking for a way to recount your own story to your children (from wherever it may be), or if you are a family looking for a way to help your children connect with refugee stories that might look different from theirs– this is THE book for you. It approaches the story of journey, of leaving home and seeking a safe place, with so much subtlety and and truth. It is the most approachable way to help us all, whether refugee, or immigrant, or not, listen to and better understand the story of so many people around the world. So may we listen and learn together, and I hope, one day that this family (and all other families seeking refuge) can find “a home where we can be safe and begin our story again.”