Written by: Huda Essa
Illustrated by: Mercè Tous
For ages: 4 years and up
Topics Covered: POC-Centric Narratives, Global Community, Family, Diversity, Kindness, Clothing, Islam, Culture & Traditions.
Summary: Adam and his parents go to the outdoor market one day, and he sees a bright blue jay. Following it, Adam doesn’t realize he’s left his parents behind until he tugs on what he thinks is his mother’s tunic but it turns out to be a nun’s dress. Adam tries to identify his parents clothes in the crowd, only to realize that many different types of people dress in similar ways! The individuals that Adam mistakes for his parents work together to bring them back together, and connect to each other in the process.
This book has few words, and the rich illustrations do the majority of the plot development. Adam and his parents live in a diverse community that is wonderfully represented by the similarities in clothing that Adam mistakes for his parents. The emphasis on community in this story is timely, some people live in fear of differences or the unknown. In the beginning as well as the end of the book are statements about the power of community and diversity, and how we are stronger together. This is a really beautiful book that can teach fantastic cultural vocabulary about garments along with the other messaging it promotes.
This book was sent to us by Sleeping Bear Press as an entry in the Best Books of 2019 List, but all opinions and decision to review were our own!
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Huda Essa has been a teacher since she was a child. Her first students were her stuffed animals. When she became a teacher as a grown up, she loved finally having human children as her students! Now, as a speaker and author, Huda is a teacher to adult humans, too. Huda’s debut book, Teach Us Your Name, and her TEDx Talk, “Your Name is the Key!” teach us to use our names to learn more about ourselves and to embrace our wonderful human diversity. Huda teaches all over the world, but lives in Michigan. You can visit her LinkedIn here!
Mercè Tous lives and works “in Barcelona, my place of birth. I love being near the sea and make the most of the wide range of cultural activities and opportunities for social networking this cosmopolitan city offers. However, whenever I can, I return to nature, my main source of inspiration.
Since I was a child I have always liked drawing, painting and immersing myself in pictures and illustrated books. My grandfather was my first art teacher, who passed on to me the passion for art, instilled in me the curiosity, the value of hard working and the satisfaction of doing a good job. I like all the art disciplines, and I have discovered with illustration a means to search beauty, to tell stories and to express my particular perspective of what surrounds me. I think that having an artistic profession is a chance to make a journey to discover the depth of oneself and, at the same time, to open to the world.
I graduated in Fine Arts from the University of Barcelona in 2008. Then I obtained the Art Teacher Certification in the same university. I carried on my education pursuing a postgraduate course specializing in children’s and youth’s book illustration at “Escola Eina” (Autonomous University of Barcelona) as well as three annual courses of illustration at “Escola de la Dona” lead by Ignasi Blanch and other great illustrators such as Cristina Losantos and Roger Olmos. I’ve also participated in several illustration workshops in Barcelona and Italy leaded by illustrators that I admire such as Octavia Monaco, Rebecca Lucciani, Mariona Cabassa and Joanna Concejo. Nowadays I work as a freelance illustrator.”