Sarah’s Two Nativities

Sarah’s Two Nativities
Janine M. Fraser and Hélène Magisson
Walker Books

In our world where many people distrust others whom they see as a threat to their way of life, and religious differences are the cause of so many problems, it’s wonderful to see this story that will help children understand that although there are many different beliefs and customs, if we listen to one another and take time to understand our differences, it will help us discover what we have in common.

Sarah has two grandmothers, Grandmother Azar and Grandmother Maria both of whom she loves to spend time with. Grandmother Azar tells her stories from the Holy Koran and when she visits she cooks kofte with Sarah. Grandmother Maria’s stories come from the Bible and together she and Sarah make cupcakes.

Both holy books, full of stories, sit side by side on a shelf in Sarah’s house and her favourite stories are the nativities her grandmothers tell at Christmas.

They are similar in many ways but have differences too. ‘How can they both be true?’ asks Sarah. What she hears in response and what follows, show the little girl that what is most important is a family living together in peace.

What a smashing story showing how similarities transcend differences and that’s what we should focus on and celebrate; it’s ideal for sharing during the Christmas season but a lovely book for any time. Hélène Magisson’s watercolour illustrations are absolutely beautiful, radiating the love and warmth that exists between all the members of Sarah’s family.

We CAN live peaceably together if we listen to one another’s stories.

Under the Same Sky / Little Puggle’s Song

Under the Same Sky
Robert Vescio and Nicky Johnston
New Frontier Publishing

Two young children living on opposite sides of the world yearn for friendship.
The boy resides in a city, the girl in a rural area yet it’s he who uses metaphors of the natural world to express his longing – “We are like the sky and sea … always apart. Never touching.’

As he stares out through the window one night, there’s a pigeon sitting on the ledge and that gives him an idea.

Creativity takes over as, with its help the lad finds a way to bridge that seemingly impossible distance and light up the world of the little girl.

The gentle, softly spoken words of the boy demonstrate how with imagination and determination true friendship can endure against the odds and across the miles. Not only does he touch the heart of the one he reaches out to but also that of the reader. The inherent tenderness of the text is reflected in Nicky Johnston’s gorgeous watercolours, which provide a perfect complement to Robert Vescio’s narrative.

Little Puggle’s Song
Vikki Conley and Hélène Magisson
New Frontier Publishing

Puggle the echidna longs to sing but no matter how he tries there’s only silence. Deep down he knows that echidnas can’t sing, nor even make a sound;

but is there perhaps a way he can become a part of the bush choir that has been asked to sing a welcome song for the emu chicks that are soon to hatch.

As the days pass Puggle can merely look on as the other animals under the leadership of Brown Feather, practise their rendition.

Then on the night before the special performance he hears the news – Brown Feather is sick. Can he possibly save the day?

Lyrically told, Vikki Conley’s heartfelt story of determination and fulfilling your dreams reads aloud well and with Hélène Magisson’s beautifully painted scenes of the fauna and flora of the Australian bush, this picture book will introduce Australian wildlife to youngsters outside the antipodes.