If you are talking to your children about refugees, are planning a unit of study on refugees, just love wordless books, or want to read a thought provoking story, I highly recommend Migrants.
This book sat on my desk for 2 weeks, because after taking one look at the cover, I knew I wanted to save it for when I had a cup of tea and some quiet time alone. That finally happened this weekend when my husband took the kids for a walk.
Migrants, by Issa Watanabe, wordlessly tells the story of a group of migrants fleeing from their homeland with few possessions, traveling through woods, camping at night, traveling by small boat over treacherous water, and finally arriving at a place they could settle down. All the while, death follows them in the form of a skeleton child wrapped in a bright floral blanket, taking members of the group.
I spent so much time looking at the illustrations in Migrants. The bright colors of the animals, set against the black and dark green background sets the mood for the story as they flee under the cover of darkness. The expressions on the animals’ faces as they travel makes words unnecessary. In fact, this story may have been less effective if it had been told in words, rather than just in . The animals themselves are incredibly detailed; however the scenery is not, making the focus of the story the animals and their journey.
I am still considering why the use of animals in this story somehow makes it more compelling. Have we become desensitized to human refugees because of the news? Do we have some emotional distance because the characters are animals, allowing us to see what is really going on without becoming upset over how humans around the world are treated? Something to think about.
Geckopress.com has teacher notes for this book if you will be using it in the classroom.
Thank you Publisher Spotlight for sending us our copy of Migrants! I am holding onto this one for when my girls are a little older, and for when conversations about immigration and refugees come up at school.
This book has also been added to my “Refugees” book list on the “Topical Book List” page, as well as to my Bookshop Shop on Bookshop.org, an online bookstore with a mission to financially support local, independent bookstores by making a donation every time a book is purchased on their site.
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