Written by: Bree Galbraith
Illustrated by: Josée Bisaillon
For ages: 4-8 years
Topics Covered: Social Justice, Bravery, Family, Community, Connections, POC-Centric Narratives, Social-Emotional Learning.
Usha was born in a land where the sky is always gray. Hardly anyone remembers the sun, but Usha is lucky enough to live with her grandfather who does remember what it was like to play outside under the warm light. Usha resolutely decides to bring back the sun, undeterred by the stories that whoever built a giant wall to block out the sun from their village would not be swayed by her pleas. Through all sorts of travails, Usha searches for the wall and is eventually successful at finding it! Now comes the harder part, convincing those on the other side to take it down.
This is a beautiful story that emphasizes the power of words over brute force. Usha is a clever and dynamic character, set on helping her grandfather and the rest of her village experience once again what only the oldest members even remember and the rest simply long for.
This book was generously sent to us by the author, Bree! We were also lucky enough to be sent a discussion guide that she developed for the book as well. It gives a list of fantastic questions and jumping off points for meaningful conversations in a small or large group that can easily be expanded to encompass other topics like human rights, social justice, and community organizing.
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Bree Galbraith lives in Vancouver and likes “writing stories that inspire kids and adults to think critically about the world around them, and the ways in which they can challenge the systems in place and create change”. Bree also holds a masters degree from the University of British Columbia!
As a young girl, Josée Bisaillon loved drawing cats and houses. She really enjoyed school and always returned home full of stories to tell. She liked being in the classroom so much that she pursued her education all the way to university, where she studied graphic design. It was there that she fell in love with illustration.
Since 2005, with scissors and brushes in hand, Josée has illustrated more than 30 children’s books, as well as magazines and newspapers for adults, all around the world.
Josée lives just outside of Montreal with her spouse, their 3 children one hairless cat and many paper characters.