Having fled from war in her homeland, a little girl and her Auntie arrive in a new country. Everything is strange and new and the little girl creates a safety 'blanket' for herself of her memories and words and sounds that are comforting and familiar. Eventually, she forms a friendship with another girl who helps her build a new 'blanket', created from her new sense of belonging and understanding.
This is such a lovely book which has so much potential for use in schools. The illustrations are fabulous- the blanket of memories is warm, bright oranges, reds and yellows, showing details from her past life. It is beautiful and vibrant and the girl- known as Cartwheel by her Auntie- looks small and vulnerable as she wraps herself in its folds. The new blanket builds in a steady spiral, one section adding to the next, in pale, cool shades of green , grey and blue. Images from her new life are depicted on this blanket and as the new blanket develops, she is shown relaxing more and more. These colours are reflected in the two girls; the one dressed in rich reds and oranges, the other in blues and greys. In the final picture, her new friend has a green top and red and orange striped trousers, subtly underlining the merging of the cultures.
Beautifully simple, the text explores displacement, resettlement, loneliness and friendship. Cartwheel's gradual coming to terms with her new life reaches a lovely conclusion as she is shown teaching her new friend how to do cartwheels on the last page.
Work in all areas of the curriculum could stem from reading this special book.
My Two Blankets by Irena Kobald, illustrated by Freya Blackwood
Houghton Mifflin ISBN: 978-0544432284