[IYL Finds | DiverseKidLit] A Sky-Coloured Boy in Samā

Myra here.

Our theme for this #DiverseKidLit is books featuring multiethnic families and/or biracial main characters. Sometimes a focus on diversity can feel like forcing people into boxes. Let’s celebrate the diversity that can be found within a single person or household! (As always, the theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit

We hope this community serves as a resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, July 1st. We will only be hosting one linkup per month (on the first Saturday) for June, July, and August.

Upcoming Themes

Our theme for the current month is books featuring biracial and/or multiethnic characters. Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now …

  • Our theme for July (1st) will be series. Series books are great for hooking readers, because there’s another book after you finish the first one! Share your favorite book series featuring diverse characters?

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

The most-clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit was Raincity Librarian’s #diversekidlit and roundup of great picture books about India. Learn about the monsoon, traditional transportation, saris, and more!

I discovered this title that I will be sharing with you today – while I was at the International Youth Library in Munich last year. I am glad to share that I am back as a research fellow this year, and I have just started two days ago. It is so comforting to be surrounded by children’s books from all over the world yet again. See my workplace. It truly feels like coming home. Somehow, I get the distinct feeling that all roads lead to here.


Samā

Written by: Tūmā, Nadīn (Touma, Nadine) Illustrated by: Zar-ad-Dīn, Hisān (Zahreddine, Hassan)
Published by: [Bairut]: Dar-Unbuz (Dar Onboz), 2015 Literary Award: White Ravens InternationalWinner.
ISBN: 978-9953-465-37-1Borrowed from the International Youth Library in Munich. Book photos taken by me. 

This book was on display at the library last year, having won the White Ravens International Youth Library Award in 2015. I initially hesitated to borrow it since the text is in Arabic. At the time, I am only able to translate international titles that use the A-Z Western Alphabet that I could also find in my keyboard (for example, picture books in French, Danish, Spanish, Norwegian, etc), using the ever-trustworthy (well, arguably) Google Translate.

Yet, there is really just something about the book that spoke to me. I am glad I found this summary at the White Ravens’ website.

A boy lives in a grey, forgotten, lifeless town where people do nothing but work, eat, and sleep. His skin is blueish – that’s why his mother calls him Samā (Sky). But since his family doesn’t know how to cope with his differentness, he feels sad. A light red cloud has settled on his heart.

Farida, a young girl, is the only one who sees and accepts Samā as a person. Thus, the boy feels loved for the first time in his life. The friendship and humanity of these two children eventually brings life back into the dead town. This story, charged with symbols, is written in a solemn and fairytale-like tone.

The audience can feel this tone on the accompanying CD on which the author reads the story. The extraordinary book received a special mention at the Bologna Ragazzi Award in the category “New Horizons”. It stands out for its combination of large-format melancholy etchings, aesthetic calligraphy, and exquisite design.

While I did not understand the text, the images are visually arresting and evocative, and the blurb sufficient to provide me with an idea of just how beautiful the story is. Definitely a must-have in any library that wants to represent diverse voices.

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Gauri @ Kitaab World
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Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
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Myra @ Gathering Books
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2 Comments on [IYL Finds | DiverseKidLit] A Sky-Coloured Boy in Samā

  1. What a wonderful experience to be back in the International Youth Library, surrounded by all that inspiring children’s literature!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hope they reprint this book with an English translation. I was glad to learn about it here. Thanks for sharing at the DiverseKidLit link up!

    Like

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