It is the last day of Refugee Week and there has been another boat capsize off the coast of Christmas Island and more brave people seeking asylum have perished at sea. Fitting then that the book today is Ziba Came On a Boat by Liz Lofthouse and Robert Ingpen.
This story begins:
Ziba came on a boat. A soggy old fishing boat
That creaked and moaned as it rose and fell,
Rose and fell, across an endless sea…
The people are adrift somewhere in the middle of the ocean and Ziba is a little girl who is on the boat with her mother. They are escaping the violence of war and searching for a new country. The illustrations are dark and the people look unhappy, but there are excerpts where memories of their village surface and hope shines through.
This is a deep topic for young children, but a better way to learn about the trials of other children in the world than watching the news or seeing the newspapers. It is a stunning book that appeals to a very wide audience, even adults. It stays with you long after you read it and it resurfaces for me every time another refugee boat makes the news.