Home for Grace
Jess and her mother meet Grace, who is a refugee experiencing homelessness and sheltering in a doorway with very few possessions. As Grace shares her story of loss with them, Jess’s empathy for Grace grows and a friendship between them develops. This is a beautifully illustrated and gently told tale that enables young children to learn about the sadness and hardship facing refugees, both in the country they are fleeing from and the country in which they arrive.
The text and pictures work in tandem to tell a difficult tale in a child-friendly way. The lovely illustrations play a key role in telling the story, by providing details which the text omits. This allows space for the reader to ask questions, or for an adult reading the story to help a child interpret the pictures in an age-appropriate way. Challenging scenes such as soldiers arriving at Grace’s home and taking her father away, and the family waiting to leave on an inflatable boat, are depicted with great sensitivity. The illustrations succeed in capturing Grace’s sadness while simultaneously infusing the text with hope.
Through Jess and her mother’s response of both practical help and friendship, the story demonstrates the importance of understanding and kindness, without preachiness. This is a timely book, with an important message, especially crucial in the current climate. It would be a great addition to any bookshelf or classroom.