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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)
My Little One
by Germano Zullo
Age Range: 6-8
A mother welcomes her tiny son into the world – “Here you are… // Finally!” she says as she cradles a tiny but fully mature-looking adult in her arms – “I’ve been waiting for you”. As she tenderly whispers and swings him gently to and fro, she tells the child the story of their lives. Each page shows the child growing taller while the mother becomes smaller until she is the one being held by her adult son bringing the story full circle.
French author and poet Germano Zullo’s minimal text, translated by Katie Kitamura, a critic and novelist living in New York City, is full of poetry. My Little One was the winner of the 2016 Bologna Ragazzi Award and the jury commented. "This is a book about love, the passing of time, and the cycle of our lives. It is also about relationships. Slowly, page after page, the black pencil illustrations on milky white paper tell a restrained, eloquently poetic universal story. "
The text and artwork are a perfect fit. 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator Award winner Albertine’s images with their delicate line drawings in black pencil stand out against a white background. The simplicity of the illustrations, however, hides a complex and careful choreography that allows the reader to flit through the pages creating movement and an animated effect as the mother and son reverse positions.
My Little One is a uniquely unusual book that is both timeless and suitable for readers of any age. Although the text is sparse its combination with the simple, yet poignant artwork, will leave a lasting impression.
Zullo has published numerous screenplays, short stories, novels, and illustrated books. Albertine, born in Switzerland, opened a screen-printing workshop in 1990 and since then has exhibited drawings, screen prints, and more in Geneva and around the world. She married and began her long artistic relationship with Germano Zullo in 1996. Their collaborations have received the Golden Apple of Bratislava (1999), a New York Times Best Illustrated Book (2012), and a Bologna Ragazzi Award for Fiction (2016), among other awards.