Today’s Perfect Picture Book is set on the island of Singapore, a place I sadly have not visited…yet! But I think readers still wary/unable to stray far from home will enjoy this virtual visit. I know I did!
And while reading is a wonderful way to escape the confines of home, our library is only open on a limited basis for the foreseeable future with no interlibrary loan service (my “local” is one of the smaller libraries, so most books I review I order through interlibrary loan). In light of the difficulty of obtaining books to review at present, I’ve decided to take a break for the summer. If I’m able to get my hands on a book or two to review, I may post periodically, but otherwise, I look forward to resuming in the fall. Enjoy the summer! Happy reading!
Title: Hello Goodbye, Little Island
Written By: Leila Boukarim
Illustrated By: Barbara Moxham
Publisher/Date: Marshall Cavendish Children/2018
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes/Topics: moving, friendship
Maja had moved to the little island with her family not long ago.
Brief Synopsis: Sad to have left her former home, Maja begins to like living in her new island home when she meets a friend. But when that friend moves away, Maja is again sad and lonely, until she finds a new friend.
Links to Resources:
- Have you moved to a new house, school, or community? How did you feel? Draw a picture of something that you like about your new home, school, or community;
- If there’s a new student in your class at school this fall, try to help them feel welcome. Think of some favorite activities that you could share with them;
- This story takes place on the island nation of Singapore. Singapore icons are incorporated into the illustrations, and they are explained in the back matter. Readers can search the illustrations for them as a seek-and-find game.
Why I Like this Book:
Moving homes, schools, and countries is difficult for anyone, but especially so for young children. So it is that Maja, the main character of Hello Goodbye, Little Island finds the food, vegetation, and climate strange in her new home, and she repeatedly asks when the family can return to their old, familiar home.
When Maja starts a new, larger school and meets a friend through whose eyes she can see the little island, “it was not so strange anymore.” But like several places where my family lived when our children were young, Maja’s new school was filled with expat families, who remained only a few years in one location. Maja’s new friend was leaving!
Once again, Maja “found herself in a strange land”, with everything seeming “different”. Until, that is, Maja discovered a new friend.
Boukarim captures Maja’s dejection at losing a friend and her happiness at finding a new friend, two feelings that children who have moved house, schools, or communities will be able to relate to well. I also like that Maja and Nour, her new friend, expand their friend circle to include a lonely boy who also is new and misses a friend.
Because Hello Goodbye, Little Island is set in Singapore, an island nation in which many expatriates live and work for a few years at a time, Boukarim populates the story with children from diverse backgrounds and cultures. I like how these characters see the beauty in their differences and learn from each other.
Moxham’s unique illustrations are a combination of collaged photographs and black and white illustrations, with icons of Singapore scattered throughout.
A Note about Craft:
In addition to featuring an endearing main character, Maja, who enjoys quiet time spent with friends, Boukarim features many items and activities found in Singapore. I think these specifics, which are new to Maja, help readers understand and empathize with her feelings of loneliness and being in a “strange” place. Adding the seek and find layer to the story increases its re-readability, and this also may expand the age range to older children interested in learning about Singapore.
This Perfect Picture Book entry will be added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!