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#PictureBook Review: Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson

Sidewalk FlowersSidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Publisher: Groundwood Books

picture book, wordless

A little girl on a walk with her father collects flowers growing up through the cracks in the sidewalk. She begins giving them away as gifts: one of them to a dead bird on the sidewalk, one to a man asleep on a bench, a few in the collar of a dog, and some in her mother’s hair when she gets home.

In the style of Wait by Antoinette Portis, we follow a seemingly uninteresting walk focused on the point of view of the child. While the book begins mostly in black-and-white save for the red pop of the jacket of the little girl, as she collects and gives away flowers, colors begin to spread and get brighter. By the end, everything has color. She tucks a flower behind her ear and looks up at the birds in the sky.

All of the Syrian refugee families that recently entered into Canada will be getting a copy of this book.

Quoted from a School Library Journal post:

The books will be presented in a welcome package that includes a postcard in either English and Arabic or French and Arabic, depending on the province. The card lists everything the library can help with, and gives clear direction on how to get a library card.

Canada expects 25,000 refugees over the next few months. The first wave of families has started arriving in Toronto and Montreal.

Sidewalk Flowers, a wordless picture book with no language barriers, depicts a little girl showing small acts of kindness to people in need as she and her father walk through a city. Author JonArno Lawson and illustrator Sydney Smith are donating their royalties in connection with this special distribution.

IBBY’s Children in Crisis projects have reached out to 25 countries stricken with conflict or natural disaster. “Books are healing for children and families in difficult circumstances,” said Patsy Aldana, president of the IBBY Foundation. “Reading helps children everywhere live better lives.”

Again like Wait, this is such a beautiful reminder that through the eyes of a child we can find so much beauty in the world.

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