Review: Boundless Sky by Amanda Addison & Manuela Adreani.
Bird sets off from Alfie’s garden, and flies over the fields. The children wave and smile, knowing that Bird will be back in the spring.
Bird flies over the blue sea and over the mountains, and eventually she comes to the dessert where Leila gives her a drink of water.
Following a Summer in Africa, bird sets off to repeat the journey in the opposite direction, but when she reaches the dessert, Leila is nowhere to be seen. It seems that bird is not the only one making a migration.
A sensitive and beautiful story that reminds us to care for those on the move.
The story builds up slowly, with beautiful pictures that allow the reader to fall in love with bird. Just like the children who wave and smile in the early pictures, we want bird to reach her destination safe and sound. Meeting Leila in her original home is a simple yet brilliant touch. It reminds readers of Leila’s humanity. She has a home and it wasn’t always troubled. Given the things children might have heard about displaced people, it is vital that they understand that nobody is defined solely as a migrant or a refugee.
When we learn that Leila is missing, the illustrations give us cause for concern. Why is that home turned over? Where has everybody gone? This story builds empathy in subtle ways long before it shows Leila’s own journey across the sea.
This book might help children who have been in Leila’s situation to think about their own journey. It is also especially good at helping other readers to empathise with Leila. To show concern and care. To agree that they would welcome Leila, as they welcome Bird, as their neighbour. The final line of the book, welcome everyone, summarises its themes.
The illustrations are drawn against a background of wide open sky. The skies set the tone of each page, from the gentle autumn breezes at the start to the terrible storms at sea. This would be a lovely book to use for thinking about how weather can be used to convey tone in a picture or a story.
It is impossible not to be moved by this gentle picture book. A true read for empathy that needs to be read far and wide.
Thanks to Lantana Publishing for my copy. Opinions my own.