Review Blog

Mar 21 2014

My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald

cover image

Ill. by Freya Blackwood. Little Hare, 2014. ISBN 978921714764.
Picture book. In the beginning she was a very happy little girl in her home village - so happy, her aunty called her Cartwheel. But then came the war and she finds herself in a new country where everything, even the wind, feels strange. But strangest of all was the language. Nobody spoke like she did - 'it was like standing under a waterfall of strange sounds. The waterfall was cold. It made me feel alone. I felt like I wasn't me any more.'
So, at home, she wrapped herself in a blanket of familiar words and sounds and memories - a blanket that was warm and soft and covered her all over, letting her feel safe. Until one day she goes to a park and a girl smiles at her and waves . . . and a new blanket is woven, one that is different but which becomes just as familiar and comfortable so she has the luxury of choosing the one she wants at the time.
This is a poignant story deliberately set in Any Place, Anywhere because its message is not confined by boundaries or borders. It's a universal story of anyone who has experienced change, even those for whom the change is to a different circumstance not setting and while the language may be familiar, it is different. We don't need to know the girl's name, where she came from or went to - this is a story to fit the globe.
Illustrated by the amazing Freya Blackwood, you can read about how she interpreted the concepts into what are the perfect accompaniments to this story on her blog .
If you are looking for titles which fit such themes as Belonging, Identity, Refugees and particularly the Australian Curriculum cross-curriculum priority Intercultural Understanding, this would be a perfect addition.
Barbara Braxton

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