Regional focus: The North Pole
Author: Chitra Soundar
Illustrator: Poonam Mistry
Genre: children’s literature
I’ve been away from Sail Away Story for a few weeks, floating in a sea of culturally rich children’s literature. I spent the last days of June at the American Library Association Annual Conference in New Orleans where I had the opportunity to meet authors and illustrators from around the world and to connect with publishers and book distributors who specialize in children’s books with cultural and worldly insight. I discovered new publishers such as Lee & Low Books, Enchanted Lion Books, and Latana Publishing who offer a wide range of beautiful books that celebrate diversity. I met inspirational authors and illustrators such as Yuyi Morales, Celia Perez and Mallika Chopra who were sharing their most recent works. I returned to my home in Guatemala with my suitcases stuffed (and overweight), with an abundance of new books to explore and enjoy with my family and students. Little by little, I am emerging from a journey around the world via books and ready to share recent favorites with Sail Away Story. Enjoy!
In You’re Snug With Me, we meet a mama bear and her two new born cubs in the Arctic. Baby bears are preparing to emerge into the world outside their cave and encounter feelings of excitement and fear and they approach the unknown. Mama repeatedly assures her youngsters that for the moment, they are safe and snug, and when it’s time for them to part, they will be capable to maneuver the challenges, adventures and journeys of life on their own.
What I love:
- Mistry’s illustrations are stunning. She incorporates a love of nature with patterns, shapes and color. Her illustrations are inspired by Indian fabric and paintings.
- Indian born Soundar lives in Canada and writes children’s stories with settings in countries around the world.
- You’re Safe With Me is calm, gentle and cooling in both illustration and text, a book that will sooth emotions for both the young and old.
- My daughters adore reading this story with me before bed.
Themes: empathy, family, emotions, courage
- How did you feel on the first day of school when you had to say goodbye to your parents? How did you feel after the first week of school?
- What makes you feel safe and snug?
- Would you like to visit the Arctic? Why or why not?
- Mistry’s illustrations resemble mandalas. Traditional mandalas are used for meditation and are designed to promote healing and spiritual growth. Color your own mandala. Find printouts here.
- Make a list of warm and cool colors. Discuss what kinds of colors Mistry uses in You’re Snug With Me. Experiment with cool colors and finger paint.
- Learn about Arctic animals and make a collage with animals found in the Arctic habitat. Glue them on top of your cool-colored fingerprint backdrop.