Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Jan. 28, 2022 — #ReadYourWorld
Drawn Across Borders: True Stories of Human Migration
George Butler, Author and Illustrator
Candlewick, Nonfiction, Mar. 16, 2021
Suitable for ages: 10-17
Themes: Human migration, Migrants, Refugees, Poverty, War, True stories, Art
Book Jacket Synopsis:
From a celebrated documentary artist, twelve portraits from the front lines of migration form an intimate record of why people leave behind the places they call home.
“It is an unusual feeling to walk into a place that everyone is leaving . . .”
Resisting his own urge to walk away, award-winning artist George Butler took his sketchbook and made, over the course of a decade, a series of remarkable pen-and-ink and watercolor portraits in war zones, refugee camps, and on the move. While he worked, his subjects—migrants and refugees in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and Asia—shared their stories. Theirs are the human stories behind the headlines that tell of fleeing poverty, disaster, and war, and of venturing into the unknown in search of jobs, education, and security. Whether sketching by the hospital bed of a ten-year-old Syrian boy who survived an airstrike, drawing the doll of a little Palestinian girl with big questions, or talking with a Masai herdsman forced to abandon his rural Kenyan home for the Kibera slums, George Butler turns reflective art and sensitive reportage into an eloquent cry for understanding and empathy. Taken together and elegantly packaged, his beautiful portraits form a moving testament to our shared humanity—and the universal urge for safety and a better life.
Why I like this book:
George Butler takes readers on a fascinating journey into human migration and the many reasons people leave their homes and countries. Butler travels to 12 countries from 2012-2018, where he interviews and sketches refugees who are suffering and starving as they flee war zones and corrupt regimes, or are leaving rural areas to seek better employment opportunities in the cities for their families. The result is this powerful book.
Butler beautifully captures the humanity behind migration with his daunting spare ink and watercolor illustrations. There is emotion and compassion in each drawing as he witnesses incredible hardship and shares it with readers. Each illustration is a moment frozen in time: Syrian children playing in burnt-out government tanks in the town square; a crowded train of men traveling from Tajikistan to Moscow to work in construction and send money home; a smiling Iraqi girl standing in line for food at a refugee camp in northern Greece; and a defeated Afghani translator for the U.S. Army in Kandahar, combatting the penetrating cold by burning railway ties with thousands of refugees in Belgrade. They have faces, names and their dignity.
Make sure you check out the Butler’s introduction which gives readers insight into what he wants them to think about migration as we move further into this current decade. This is an excellent book for middle grade and high school students.
George Butler is an award-winning artist and illustrator specializing in current affairs. His ink and watercolor drawings are made in situ in war zones, refugee camps, and disaster areas all over the world. His work, including coverage of the Syrian Civil war, has been published by The Times (London), the BBC, the New York Times, and more, and it has been exhibited in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. He is the cofounder of the Hands Up Foundation, which has raised of £4 million to support the salaries of professionals in Syria.
*Review copy provided by Candlewick Press in exchange for a review.
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