In this charming picture book, a girl points at her two eyes, her nose, and we follow the pages through, all the way down to one bottom, two knees and two feet- and then she says that, ‘My feet can take me a long, long way’ next to her mother who has her head covered, and that her feet can run very fast. Sometimes she’s happy, sometimes she’s sad; she loves cuddles with Mum and her baby brother or sister, and feeling safe and warm – and then we see where she sleeps, living out of a suitcase with cooking pots and bowls on the floor. The final double-page spread shows that she lives in a temporary shelter in a refugee camp surrounded by a fence topped with barbed wire, but repeats that she is ‘Just like you’. Even quite young children should understand that becoming a refugee can happen to anyone and is not the fault of the person involved or their family, and this book will encourage empathy and understanding of some other children’s lives.
This is Jo Loring-Fisher’s first book as author and illustrator. She had previously illustrated Samuel Narh’s picture book, Maisie’s Scrapbook, about a mixed-race family, and that was well-reviewed. Otter-Barry is well known for publishing books with a purpose, and this will be a useful addition to a library, both as a story as and as a way of appreciating how some other children live.