A Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature

English / Australia

My two blankets

Kobald, Irena (text)
Blackwood, Freya (illus.)
Richmond, Victoria: Little Hare, 2014. – [32] p.
ISBN 978-1-921714-76-4

Refugee – Loneliness – Homesickness – Language – Search for identity – Picture book

Austrian-Australian author Irena Kobald has crafted a quiet, touching story about a young refugee girl, who feels lost and lonely in her new country among all the strange people, animals, plants, and noise. Whenever little Cartwheel gets frightened by the “cold waterfall” of foreign words and overwhelmed by homesickness, she wraps herself in a metaphorical blanket of her own memories, familiar language, and comforting sounds. Award-winning illustrator Freya Blackwood captures the two worlds by using two opposing colour palettes and different media: The happy home memories and Cartwheel herself are depicted in warm, saturated tones of red, orange, and yellow, painted with oil paints, whereas the “new place” is rendered in pale grey, blue, and green watercolours, creating a disconcerting, cool atmosphere. Cartwheel’s growing confidence as she finds a friend, learns new words, and weaves herself a “new blanket” is ingeniously mirrored in the gradual intermingling of the two colour families. (Age: 4+)