I originally shared this book on Empathy Day (13 June). Empathy Day is an initiative from the EmpathyLab in the UK, that encourages us to ‘read for empathy’ and ‘change the world story by story’. It’s a reminder of the power of books to offer insights into different perspectives, cultures and viewpoints, that can help us better understand each other and see our shared humanity.
I wanted to share the Australian book, My Two Blankets by author Irena Kobald and illustrator Freya Blackwood. My Two Blankets is about the friendship between a child who has recently fled her war-torn country, and a child in the strange new country she’s arrived in. We see the world through the eyes of ‘Cartwheel’, starting a new life in a land where everything is different. For comfort she wraps herself in a metaphorical blanket, that evolves throughout the story as her friendship and understanding of the new country grows.
Inspired by the friendship of the authors own child with a child from Sudan, the book reminds us of the importance of kindness, compassion and welcoming. How would we feel in ‘Cartwheel’s’ shoes? But it’s not just about how would we feel, it encourages us to think what can we do? How can we help someone feel welcome in a new country?
My Two Blankets
Author: Irena Kobald
Illustrator: Freya Blackwood
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont
First published: 2014