For today’s Perfect Picture Book Friday, I’m looking at My Two Blankets, a book that combines diversity with friendship and understanding.
But to begin…a little story from my childhood that ties into my book review.
Having grown up with a mother who spoke only German and a father who spoke only English, I learned both at once and somehow managed to keep the two languages apart. And, in answer to your question, no matter which parent spoke to me, I always answered in English.
It wasn’t until I was four, traveling to visit my grandmother in Germany with my mother and older sister, that speaking English became a problem. The children in my grandmother’s neighborhood didn’t want to play with me because they didn’t understand English. I ran inside, miserable because I couldn’t make friends. My mother reminded me that I could understand her and therefore, must be able to speak German. “Go back out there,” she said, “and speak German with the children.”
Needless to say, the kids at the playground couldn’t understand how I learned their language so quickly. But from that moment on, the German children and I were able to share our stories and cultural differences (clothes, games, favorite meals, holidays, etc…), and friendships were quickly made.
For quite a while, I spoke only German. According to my parents, it took three months before I started speaking English again.
A language barrier can get in the way of making friends, the solution is to find a way to bridge that gap, and that is the main theme for my perfect picture book Friday review.
Title – My Two Blankets – view on Amazon HERE.
Written by – Irena Kobald
Illustrated by – Freya Blackwood
Published by – Houghton Mifflin Harcourt – 2014
Suitable for ages – 4-8
Topics/Theme – Diversity, understanding, and friendship.
Opening – Auntie used to call me Cartwheel. Then came the war. Auntie didn’t call me Cartwheel anymore. We came to this country to be safe. Everything was strange. The people were strange. The food was strange. The animals and the plants were strange. Even the wind felt strange.
Amazon Review – Cartwheel moves to a new country with her auntie, and everything is strange: the animals, the plants—even the wind. An old blanket gives Cartwheel comfort when she’s sad—and a new blanket just might change her world.
Learn about Irena Kobald HERE.
Learn about Freya Blackwood HERE. Please note, this link takes you to a marvelous blog post in which the very talented illustrator talks about the pictures she created for this book.
Find more Perfect Picture Book Friday reviews at Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog HERE.
Activities to do with children – With paper, colored pencils, crayons, scissors, and glue, children can make their own blanket of words and images that define them, the country they live in, and their home. Cut 4-inch squares from colored or plain paper. On each square, have children write a word or draw a picture of something meaningful: a picture of their family, the house they live in, their pets, and words that describe them and their interests. Cutting pictures out of (parentally approved) magazines and gluing them to the squares is another option. Paste the pictures to a poster board to form a quilt.