Mayper, Monica

Night on the Sand

(2) K-3 Illustrated by Jaime Kim. An unspecified natural disaster destroys the home of two brothers, who are then unable to locate their parents. With the "howl" of the storm lingering in their minds, the pair starts ­walking, just ­putting "one foot in front of the other." The older brother carries a blanket, and the younger (who narrates the story) holds an orange that, once peeled and opened, serves as a metaphor for his nascent attempts to deal with the trauma. The boys sleep in each other's arms on a beach near other people left homeless ("like driftwood"). Kim's palette then brightens, shifting from the dark shadows of the storm and its aftermath to the yellow sun rising on the shore, as hope arrives in the form of a boat. They board, and the younger boy looks back at the smoke where their home once was, knowing they "could not go back." ­Mayper, as explained in the back matter, set out to chronicle an "experience of catastrophe" to represent the plight of all refugees. Those wanting a refugee story built around specifics--and one with closure--should look elsewhere. But this can serve as a conversation starter for young children, particularly those looking further at the two resources Mayper suggests for learning more about displaced persons.


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