BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Today we feature Lubna and Pebble, a new picture book offering young readers an empathetic introduction to the refugee experience through a gentle story about friendship and belonging. Review Panel member Chris tells us more....
Book Title: Lubna and Pebble (available here)
Author: Wendy Meddour
Illustrator: Daniel Egneus
Publication Date: March 2019
Most Suitable For: KS1
Reviewed By: Chris Whitney, Literacy Consultant
As Lubna arrives in the World of Tents, so begins an emotional story about the power of friendship set against the background of the refugee crisis.
Lubna’s best friend is a pebble, found on the beach as they arrived in the night. We are not told who ‘they’ are or where ‘they’ came from but throughout the captivating story there are many clues which help to build a picture of this family’s journey (for example, ‘she fell asleep in Daddy's salty arms’). So it happens that a pebble becomes Lubna’s best friend - a friend to whom she can tell stories of her previous life, the life with her brothers and the life during the war.
Pebble listens to Lubna's stories and she takes care of Pebble, providing shelter from the cold. One day, a little boy called Amir arrives and like Lubna, he too is displaced and friendless. It is the introduction to Pebble that raises a smile on the boy’s face and the start of a friendship with Lubna. Time passes and the two become friends, playing together all day long until Lubna’s Father brings the good news that they are moving on as they have found a home. Lubna understands that Amir needs Pebble even more than she does and in an emotional conversation hands over the shoebox. The story begins over again as Amir welcomes Pebble to his life. ‘
Author and illustrator work together to create a moving story of friendship amidst the refugee crisis. It is a story full of hope and acts of kindness. The close-up style of the illustrations draws attention to the feelings of the characters and encourages the reader to develop empathy. The colours are warm and muted and the background illustrations give the reader glimpses of life as a refugee.
This is a book I would recommend as an introduction for younger children to the refugee crisis and the power of friendship.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending us a review copy of this book and to Chris for reviewing it.