A few months ago Alexis Deacon and I were hosted by IBBY UAE at their International Conference in Sharjah.
Here we are in suitable attire in the incredible red 'fire' desert outside Sharjah. I could post about all the myriad of experiences that made it so special and the friendliness and hospitality of our hosts and all the book people there, but to keep it quick and snappy I’m going to select one picture book published by KALIMAT that crossed borders and said more about the human condition than any I’ve seen recently. As I can’t read Arabic – the book became a wordless picture book for me and I had to look extra hard at what the artist was telling me. (apologies here for the very fast scans with slightly faded colours! The book in reality is far more jewel like0
Divorce or separation is not easily handled in a picture book story. Here you have the story of a boy experiencing his world separately with each parent. He shares his time with them travelling between the two houses. The mechanics of this separation are cleverly devised by the publisher in that the book cover splits down the middle along that black line you see in the middle of the pic below and opens to either side. So the rift or the separation or alienation is highlighted and you have the boy starng out of two very different windows.
The boy is taken on a dream journey by some dolphins where he lands on a foreign shore.
But is it a foreign shore? It looks familiar to me. In fact its looks like the same walkway he took between his parents' homes.
As an afterthought to this blog I've added this endpage as I've had librarians emailing to ask more details of the book. The ISBN is 9789948223320. It was published in 2014 by KALIMAT. The drawing on the endpaper made me smile. It seems to emphasis how precarious the boy's life appears as he cycles across the walkway.
IBBY / NCRCL Annual Conference
5 November 2016
Marvellous Imaginations - Extending thinking through picture books
This year’s conference explores the ways in which picture books contribute to the development of the child through critical, imaginative, empathetic, creative or other responses. A glimpse at the international world of picture books, at trends and developments in creating picture books and publishing, and research into children’s interaction with picture books
We will hear from eminent illustrators, including Laura Carlin who will be presented with her medal for winning Biennale of Illustration, Bratislava, one of the oldest international honours for children's book illustrators, and about the new Klaus Flugge Prize for the most exciting newcomer to picture book illustration.
Here is the programme for the day: