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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Outsider / Odmieniec
by Anna Mycek-Wodecki
Age Range: 9-11
This unusual bilingual book written in Polish and English by illustrator/author Anna Mycek-Wodecki is a beautiful homage to the worldwide renowned composer and virtuoso pianist, Frédéric Chopin, who was a leading musician of his time.
The lyrical prose, including quotes from Chopin, follows his life from his birth in Poland in 1810 to a French father and Polish mother to becoming a child prodigy when his musical genius; leaving Poland at the age of 20 just before the outbreak of the November Uprising in 1830 never to return and finally settling in Paris. A composer of the Romantic era, Chopin wrote predominantly for solo piano. Chopin suffered much ill health for most of his life and died in 1849 of tuberculosis at the young age of 39.
Although a picture book, this will appeal to a slightly older audience (and adults too) as some of the concepts within the text may be challenging in some instances to younger readers. The layout of the words – Polish at the top of the page and the English at the bottom has a real poetry-style feel aiding the flow of the story. It is matched by the stunning artwork that retains a surreal quality making Outsider a fitting tribute to one of the world’s greatest composers.