Written and illustrated by Michael Foreman
Published by Candlewick Press, 2009
Themes: War, hope, vines, resilience
The boy saw it after a night of rain, a speck of green in the rubble.
A little boy lives behind barbed wire in a barren world of rubble and ruin. Behind the wire lie soldiers and cool hill he used to visit with his dad. Amongst the debris he discovers a tiny plant which her nurtures until it grows into a great vine – offering pollen for insects and shade for playtime. Can a small plant return hope to this community, or will it find itself crushed under military might?
Why I like this book:
A beautiful story of healing and renewal in a war zone, is accessible to the very young. The transition from grey illustrations to vibrant colour accentuate the contrast between the devastation man can wreak and the resilience of the human spirit. The story would appear to take place in a Middle Eastern setting, so my only disappointment is that the children all appear to be uniformly caucasian.
I see this story as a catalyst for the discussion of war with young children. It’s gentle message and optimism make the topic approachable to even the most sensitive child.