Issa Watanabe
Gecko Press

Just when we’re hearing of more and more migrants attempting to reach our shores in unsafe boats, arrived this timely book.

With its striking images it snares the attention right from the start as we’re shown the journey of a disparate group of migrants who plod through a dark forest with just a few belongings in bundles.
Behind them stalks the grim reaper accompanied by a huge blue ibis.

En route to the next stage of their journey, the travellers stop to rest and share food

before moving on towards the coast where a boat is waiting.

Everyone crowds on board with Death flying above on the ibis.

But the vessel is no match for the powerful waves that destroy it long before they reach land leaving those that are able, to swim to the shore.

There, they realise that one of their number has died and having gathered around to bid a final farewell,

on they trudge, still pursued by death with more falling by the wayside as their arduous, grief stricken journey continues.

Finally the depleted group arrives at a place where tree life blossoms and maybe, … a little hope.

Issa Watanabe has created without a single word, one of the most harrowing portrayals of migration I’ve seen in a book.

With her characters standing out starkly against the constant black backdrop, each illustration captures the determination and dignified demeanour of the travellers; yet, she leaves space for readers to do some of the interpretation themselves.

Truly a visual tour-de force, albeit one that leaves us feeling raw and tearful.



Egmont Publishing
CRACK! The ice breaks and Polar Bear and his two friends are swept away far from their home, losing everything they hold dear. They’re frightened, our narrator tells us but they cannot any longer stay in those icy surroundings: it’s imperative they find somewhere else to live and they must keep their spirits up no matter how scary things get …


Then land is in sight; but will they be able to find refuge here? Sadly not …


On they go, still hopeful but again their hopes are thwarted, not once but twice … and things are getting desperate …

Surely there’s somewhere they’re not “too bear-ish”, “too furry” or “too tall”? somewhere with plenty of room for all, where things aren’t too much bother …
Finally as the last remains of the iceberg turn to water, the bears find an empty island, one whereon they can make a home for themselves and …
With a beautiful twisting finale, this highly topical book is a must have for all early years setting and primary classes. It needs to be shared, discussed and shared again to help everyone understand the issues and challenges migrants face, no matter from whence they come, or go. We MUST empathise, we MUST help, we MUST open our arms and welcome them …
This moving, thought-provoking book is a step along the way to understanding and compassion; and thanks be to the brilliantly talented Barroux for creating it.