My guess is that few of you are traveling these days. But what’s better than a good story to pass the time at home (and help anxious parents forget about the viral news)? How about a story about storytelling that’s filled with travel and adventure, like today’s Perfect Picture Book.
Title: The Traveler’s Gift: A Story of Loss and Hope
Written By: Danielle Davison
Illustrated By: Anne Lambelet
Publisher/Date: Page Street Kids/2019
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: storytelling, travel, grief, loneliness, friendship
Liam’s father was a sailor. After returning from sea, he’d weave tales for Liam of the faraway places he’d been and the curious things he’d seen, using just his words.
Someday, Liam would join his father. They would travel to faraway places, and Liam would have stories of his own to tell. But for now, he was happy retelling his father’s stories to anyone who would listen.
Brief Synopsis: Liam loves listening to his father’s stories. But when his father dies, Liam’s interest in stories dies with him, until Liam meets a traveler who weaves stories so engaging that Liam’s love of stories revives.
Links to Resources:
- Do you have favorite family stories? Or favorite stories about someplace you’ve traveled or an adventure you’ve experienced? Share some of these with your friends;
- Ask an older relative or friend to share some of their favorite stories.
Why I Like this Book:
In text and illustrations, The Traveler’s Gift transports readers to mythical faraway places and shows the transformative power of stories.
As the story begins, young Liam experiences the world through the fantastical stories woven by his seafaring father. But when his father dies, Liam’s interest in life and travel and his love of stories fade. How can he find these again?
When he hears a new storyteller, the traveler Enzo, weaving tales by the docks, Liam takes a chance, and turns his life around, by volunteering to travel with Enzo to “listen to the world”, “see things…with more than just his eyes”, and experience places “not found on a map”. As the pair share Liam’s first voyage and Enzo’s last voyage, Liam gains the courage to tell his own story of his father, his newfound friend, and the adventures shared.
The woodcut-like illustrations and vivid colors add to the mythic qualities of this tale that is sure to transport young and old readers alike to a faraway place, where a storyteller can transform feelings of loss to hope.
A Note about Craft:
For many of us, the power of storytelling is fantastic, a magical way to recount happenings or make sense of a senseless world. But how does one convey that in a story about storytelling? In The Traveler’s Gift, Davison uses the term “magic” at two particular points in the story to convey this. After Liam’s father’s death, “[a]ll the magic he once felt retelling his father’s stories faded.” After Enzo asked him to try telling stories, “Liam felt the magic of storytelling he thought he’d lost.”
The illustrations also help convey the magic of storytelling and lend a mythic air to Liam’s experiences. There’s no indication in the text of how to show the Traveler’s gift, but readers will see and understand what it is through Lambelet’s fantastic details that weave through this story.
This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!