Review of the Day: My Favorite Memories by Sepideh Sarihi and Julie Völk
We were so pleased to be the recipients of one of the texts from Blue Dot Kids Press's inaugural series! My Favorite Memories is one of five titles being launched this spring in their five book collection; originally printed in German, the picture book will arrive with its first English translation this spring. According to the Blue Dot Kids Press website, this publishing house is "devoted to captivating stories and spectacular illustrations that build relationships to the natural world and our global community." Additionally, all of their books are made with ingredients that are safe for the home and school and with the intention of making the book business a little more sustainable. The mission and vision of this new children's book publishing house is an exciting one, and we're eager to see what other titles come from Blue Dot!
One day, a little girl's parents tell her that she is going to fly on an airplane and move to a new country. Rosy-cheeked with excitement, her mother gives her a new suitcase and tells her that she can only bring her favorite things. Posed with such a great challenge the little girl considers what might fit inside this too-small suitcase... Her aquarium? The pear tree? The bus driver? Her very best friend? The ocean? When her mother tells her that there simply isn't room in a suitcase or on an airplane for all these wonderful things, the little girl spends a moment with another favorite thing: the ocean. There, she has a realization: "...that was something I didn't have to take with me. That's the great thing about the ocean—it's everywhere." The little girl imagines a way for all of her things to join her in her new home... eventually.
The experience of displacement in this picture book is, though a challenge, managed with a sense of calm and a promise of hope—a message in which children who feel uprooted can find solace. Both the text and the illustrations nod to the young child's imagination and blurred sense of place they can feel—in one sweeping spread, the cityscape around the little girl fades into a stack of suitcases behind her. The art, seemingly rendered in colored pencil, is spare, leaving mostly a white background, making the text and the reading experience light and airy. This gives a sense of spaciousness in a narrative where the little girl (and the child reader!) could have felt restricted instead. My Favorite Memories offers an opportunity to see change as an opportunity and the natural world around us as a connection, no matter where we go. A heartening story of quiet anticipation in the midst of unknowns.
Source: Deborah Sloan & Co. provided this book for a fair and honest review.