Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers

Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers
Lina AlHathloul & Uma Mishra-Newbery, illustrated by Rebecca Green

This is the debut book for authors Uma Mishra-Newbery and Lina AlHathloul, both human rights activists; Lina being the sister of Loujain AlHathloul, the women’s rights activist formerly imprisoned by the Saudi government for advocating women’s right to drive.

Many readers, adults at least, will be familiar with Icarus and his flight but fewer I suspect, will know of LouJain AlHathloul, the inspiration for this story. The Loujain in this story is a young girl who longs to fly like her father who talks of what her baba describes as a ‘carpet of a million sunflowers’. It’s this that fills the girl’s dreams while in the daytime she dons her father’s wings and pretends she can soar high into the sky. The problem is a big one however: girls are not allowed to fly. Nevertheless despite the taunting from her peers, she holds fast to her dream and baba’s assertion, “the only way to see the sunflowers is to fly over to where they are.”

Eventually baba relents and in the garden as he has done with his boys, he teaches her to fly. Now the possibility of reaching those ever beckoning fields of sunflowers is more than just a dream and one day the two – baba and Loujain spread their wings and …

Her baba takes a photo of his daughter in flight and next morning on the way to school Lulu is in the news.

What a wonderfully empowering story for children; they need to know that it’s important to dream big, to believe in yourself and to reach for the stars; that way will they see life’s wonders as they fly for peace of mind, for freedom and for their rights. Rebecca Green’s illustrations, with their warm hues and powerful images are show-stopping – a perfect backdrop for the words.
(Backmatter provides further information about Loujain AlHathloul and her work in the Saudi Women’s Rights movement and an inspiring letter from the authors.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.