Several days after the Christchurch Mosques terrorist attack on 15 March 2019, I struggled to think what to do/say in my classes with early childhood student teachers at the university. Following my inquiry, Nicola recommended My two blankets written by Irena Kobald and illustrated by Freya Blackwood (2014), and loaned me her copy of this picturebook that I was not familiar with.
- Winner of the 2015 Children’s Book Council Award for Picture Books
- Shortlisted for the 2015 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Children’s Books
I found this beautiful book easy-to-read to a captivated audience. The stunning illustrations and narrative struck a chord with many of us at this emotional time. Ruby Jones’ internationally acclaimed artwork depicting two women embracing – one a Muslim wearing a hijab – with the message, “This is your home and you should have been safe here” was in my mind as I read.
Since then I have been looking for picturebooks that may act as mirrors and windows on the world to use with young children in the context of diversity and social justice, and to help children cope with tragedy. The following website is worth investigating.
Here’s a synopsis of My two blankets thanks to Booktopia:
Cartwheel has arrived in a new country, and feels the loss of all she’s ever known. She creates a safe place for herself under an ‘old blanket’ made out of memories and thoughts of home. As time goes on, Cartwheel begins to weave a new blanket, one of friendship and a renewed sense of belonging. It is different from the old blanket, but it is eventually just as warm and familiar.
This beautiful tale about friendship and culture, paired with award-winning Freya Blackwood’s stunning illustrations makes for the most exquisite book.