Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Review: 'Refuge' by Anne Booth and Sam Usher

Two years ago, I saw a few tweets about a new Christmas book that was something very special. Published on a very tight turnaround, it was a retelling of the Nativity with the focus on the vulnerability of Jesus and his family and how they effectively became refugees after his birth. It came at a time when the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe was becoming desperate, and was sold to raise money for War Child, a charity working with displaced children. That book was 'Refuge'.


I bought the book that year and I absolutely love it. It's such a simple retelling of a very familiar story but each word is so carefully chosen, so thought-provoking. Sam Usher's illustrations are similarly simple yet striking, really evoking both the joy of the new arrival and the fear of Herod's reaction to the news of a new King.


Interestingly the simplicity of the illustrations sparked a conversation with Eleanor (5) about the origins of the book. Throughout, Usher mostly uses monochrome with golden tones, and Eleanor asked me why all the pictures were 'black and white'. I explained to her that the book was written very quickly to raise money for refugees, so using mainly black and white meant that it could be illustrated and printed more quickly. This led to us talking about how Jesus was a refugee like the people escaping war now. 


I really love this book and everything it stands for. The concise text means that it is a great book to read with children of different ages - it's short enough for toddlers not to get bored, but there is enough in it to talk to older children about. It's not clear whether proceeds still go to War Child two years on, but nonetheless this is a useful book for starting conversations about the (sadly ongoing) refugee crisis.


Linking up with #ReadWithMe hosted by Mama Mummy Mum.


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6 comments:

  1. This is a lovely retelling of the Christmas story and as you say it is simple enough for really little children but thought provoking for older readers. Definitely one to add to a Christmas bookshelf :o)

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    1. Absolutely, I think it appeals to all ages.

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  2. The simplicity of it definitely appeals as so many books have a bright and busy focus. Thank you for sharing with #readwithme

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    1. It's so effective they way it uses colour and text so sparingly, really gets to the heart of the story.

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  3. This one is on my wish list, it looks so powerful #readwithme

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    1. It really is, I'd really recommend getting a copy.

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