Nadine Kaadan, London, Lantana Publishing, hb. 978 1 9113 7345 8, £10.99, 2018, 32pp.
Fiction, Picture book, 4+ years
This picture book focuses on the isolating impact of war on Syrian children, who are forced to always stay at home because the once safe and fun world outside has changed to a place of danger.
Little Yazan has, so far, been protected by his parents from the harsh reality of fighting in the streets he used to play in – but, one day, boredom overwhelms him and he takes his shiny red bike outside all alone, desperate to go to the park like he used to, despite knowing that he might be in trouble.
The story shows how Yazan’s parents try to protect their child, but become so distracted by the news that they forget to play with him. Everything changes when Yazan’s mother remembers their shared love of painting, and paints a park on the wall together with Yazan.
The inky black shadows of Kaadan’s illustrations have a haunting quality but the expressive faces of Yazan and his mother show her hope that love will prove stronger than hatred. Tomorrow conveys a short, simple but powerful message. It is wonderful that Lantana have published this story, originally written in Arabic, to help very young children in other countries gain an understanding of what it feels like to live through a war.
Review by Kate Lee