Picture Book Highlights | 'Tis the Season... and the Times

By Jeff B. RSS Tue, December 24, 2019

Sometimes you come across a small book that holds much more than what you see between the cover. Migrations: Open Hearts, Open Borders is just such a wonder. 

This timely and heartening work, the fruition of an exhibit by the same name held at The International Centre for the Picture Book in Society at the University of Worcester in the United Kingdom, features personally decorated postcards sent in by more than 50 children's book illustrators from around the world, expressing solidarity with today's immigrants.

A flying ostrich does the impossible; a swallow flies across a field of gray and reveals spring behind her; an albatross "holds in its eye the storm / And ... / The small green island of its home"—a message conveying where we go becomes part of us. The illustrations, done in a variety of media including colored pencil, collage, and watercolors, with brief poetic messages, beam with encouragement. They collectively highlight the universality of the traveling experience, acknowledge loss, and find and seed hope for a better time to come.

The book is organized around themes of "departures," "long journeys," "arrivals," and "hope for the future." A preface by Shaun Tan (Cicada, Tales From The Inner City) highlights the power and responsibility of spreading hope through works that talk to the imagination.

This small but powerful book definitely succeeds in this aim and will appeal to readers from migrant and host communities alike, young and old. An appropriate and worthwhile read during these times of walls and nationalism and this season of peace and family.

Visit your neighborhood library for this book... and more! What long journeys have you or your family experienced? What are some of your hopes for the future?

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