#DecolonizeReading2023 Books Early Readers Features Genre It's Monday What Are You Reading Lifespan of a Reader Picture Books Reading Themes

[Monday Reading] Glimmerings Of Hope Across Borders in Picturebooks and Postcards

"All migration is an act of imagination, a flight of imagination. A hope that frequently exercises a previously unknown human potential." - Shaun Tan, Introduction, "Migrations: Open Hearts, Open Borders."


It's Monday! What Are You Reading

Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). It has been awhile since I joined this reading community and I intend to be more present this year, life circumstances permitting.

Similar to last year, we hope to feature books that fit any of the following criteria:

  1. Postcolonial literature and/or [pre/post] revolutionary stories
  2. Stories by indigenous / first-nation peoples / people of colour
  3. Narratives of survival and healing, exile and migration, displacement and dispossession
  4. Books written or illustrated by people who have been colonized, oppressed, marginalized
  5. Translated or international literature

Wisp: A Story Of Hope (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written by Zana Fraillon Illustrated by Grahame Baker-Smith
Published by Hachette (2018)
ISBN: 9780734418043 Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

Idris gentlied the Wisp from the ground. He softlied away the dust and dirt and footprints.

And that was when he felt it.

The smallest whisper of want.

It was the words above that made me sit up and take notice as I was reading this book, particularly the words “gentlied” and “softlied.” I love it when authors play and invent and make up words that capture the essence of what they wish to convey. And for a boy like Idris whose world is made up of fences and barbed wires, maybe made-up words fashioned from light and wind and prayer are needed to provide this spark of hope.

While I have read and shared quite a number of books about refugees and displacement (see some picturebooks featured here over the years), this one moved me with its glimmerings of hope and the fearless touching of wisps that lead to connections and kinship and the building of community, even in places of despair.

I thought, however, that an Author’s or Illustrator’s note would have enriched the narrative considerably – the inspiration perhaps behind the story or the research (if any) that the book creators have done in the making of this poetic and visually appealing book.

Migrations: Open Hearts Open Borders (Amazon | Book Depository)

Edited by International Centre for Picture Book In Society
Published by Candlewick Studio (2019)
ISBN: 9781536209617 (ISBN10: 1536209619) Bought a copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

The International Centre for Picture Book In Society, founded at the University of Worcester in England by Piet Grobler and Tobias Hickey, organized an exhibition entitled Migrations which was first shown at BIBIANA, Bratislava in September 2017. Hundreds of award-winning illustrators from around the world sent postcards in solidarity with human migrants who are in search of a new life, a new home, hope.

Shaun Tan wrote the Introduction (which, truth be told, was my impetus to purchase a copy of the book) and the postcards were organized by the editors across four main themes, and I am sharing my favourite postcards across the themes:

(1) Departures: Shaun Tan, Australia

(2) Long Journeys: Mira Widhayati, Indonesia

(3) Arrivals – Mohammad Barrangi Fashtami, Iran

(4) Hope for the Future – Isol, Argentina

Find this book, and maybe it will inspire you to create your own postcards / artwork for the displaced peoples in places where you live.

#DecolonizeReading2023 Update: 4 out of target 100 (for Migrations)

How about you? What gives you hope?

5 comments on “[Monday Reading] Glimmerings Of Hope Across Borders in Picturebooks and Postcards

  1. Both these books look wonderful Myra. I sure wish they were available to read locally!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These books have some gorgeous illustrations!

    My It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have Migrations, Myra, & you’re right, it is wonderful. Thanks for Wisp, new to me & sadly, my library doesn’t have it. I put it on my list, though, maybe someday?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I thought I had read Migrations before since it looked so familiar but I guess not since I couldn’t find it on my blog or Goodreads. Will have to look for it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Vidya Tiru

    As always, definitely adding both these stunning books to my tbr.. I always find hope in words!
    My Monday post is here

    Liked by 1 person

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