Paul Fleischman

Matchboxes and memories

This is one of those books that cries out at you to buy it.

The illustrations are exquisite. Like beautiful, sepia photographs, they set the mood for the memories that are shared as the story progresses. Bagram Ibatoulline is an amazing artist, creating such detailed pictures of past and present.

Great-grandfather's story is told through a series of objects that he has collected through his lifetime. Unable to read or write, he wanted to keep a diary and this was his way of recording significant events by collecting items and keeping them in matchboxes.

As well as being a unique insight into the experiences of Italians migrating to America in the late 1800s/early 1900s, the book also shows the developing, loving relationship between a grandfather and his 'great-granddaughter I've only just heard about'. The final picture shows her sitting on a plane with an empty chocolate box tray in which she is carefully placing little memory objects of her own.

The book could inspire a wonderful memory project in school or indeed at home. Craft matchboxes can be used (I'm sure there will be a million reasons why you can't use 'real' matchboxes- 'Health and Safety'!) to store items of significance...and to value memory.

A real 'must have'!

The Matchbook Diary by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

Walker     ISBN: 978-1406343779