Lubna and Pebble
Wendy Meddour and Daniel Egnéus
Oxford University Press
Every pebble is different, some are special, others not: the pebble in this beautifully moving story is of the former kind. It’s smooth, shiny, grey and it’s Lubna’s best friend. She discovered it when she and her father arrived one night on the beach before falling fast asleep in her Daddy’s embrace.
These two people have landed in a tented world and with her pebble clutched in one hand and her Daddy’s hand in the other, the little girl feels protected.
In one of the tents she finds a felt-tip pen, which she uses to draw a smiling face on her pebble.
Lubna opens up to Pebble telling her now much loved new pal of the war, her home and her brothers.
Winter comes and with it chill winds that flap the tents. Daddy keeps his daughter warm and together they make a warm bed for Pebble.
Into this chilly camp comes a little boy, silent and afraid. Lubna introduces him to Pebble and the boy introduces himself to Pebble: Amir is his name.
A new friendship develops between Lubna and the newcomer although Pebble remains her best friend.
One day Daddy receives some wonderful news: he and Lubna are leaving for a new home.
Amir’s reaction means that Lubna now has mixed feelings and that night in bed she lies awake pondering. She consults Pebble but no answer is forthcoming.
By morning though, Lubna knows what she must do when she leaves …
This is a book that really tugs at your heartstrings. Wendy’s tale of love, hope, friendship, sacrifice and transcendence perfectly complemented by Daniel Egnéus’ powerful, sometimes sombre, scenes of the refugee camp dwellers left me with tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat.
Definitely one to add to the growing number of beautiful picture books featuring people displaced from their own home country seeking safe refuge elsewhere.