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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)
by Sandra le Guen
Age Range: 6-8
Jeannette tells her mother about Iliana, a new girl at school who never stops looking up at the sky. She draws meteors and planets, never smiles and always seems so sad. Jeannette's mother encourages her daughter to befriend Iliana. At first, it's hard to communicate because they don't speak the same language so they have to use their hands and their drawings to understand each other. But soon Iliana can tell Jeannette about her difficult and dangerous journey crossing the sea on a small crowded boat to escape her war-torn country. Iliana had been so frightened; her mother, in an effort to comfort her, had told her to look up at the sky because it belonged to everyone. As the girls' friendship blossoms their imagination becomes as limitless as the sky.
Originally published in France this gentle story about finding safety, refuge and friendship by Sandra le Guen is brought to life in English by award-winning translator by Daniel Hahn. The whimsical and expressive artwork full of allegorical imagery by Stéphane Nicolet captures the children's growing special bond as well as their curiosity and imagination about outer space. A powerful story about finding refuge and understanding what it's like to be a refugee in another country that will resonate with young readers.