Tuesday, February 03, 2015

The Everlasting Embrace by Gabrielle Emanuel, Illustrated by E. B. Lewis

Patterns of light and dark in E.B. White's fluid illustrations make this book sparkle like sunlight on water.If you like cultural stories with universal themes, check out The Everlasting Embrace.Its about mother-love, the bonding between mother and child, from the perspective of a child, perched on the back of a West African mother. Gabrielle Emanuel, the author, lived in Mali among colorful marketplaces and families.She envisions what it is like to be in the child's position. She describes it as a "front row seat on the world, where I can watch everything as it happens."

The best part of the story is experiencing the child's daily routine. It's nothing like a day in the life of a child in our part of the world. That's what books are for. They take us to places we have never been and may never go. Yet a good book connects us. Keep your eye on this title, it may be an award winner.

Use this book to introduce your own child to a different culture and to reassure them that as they grow your love for them never ends. Read it for your own enrichment or read with a child to engage in the joy of reading together and bonding through books.

On the dedication page of The Everlasting Embrace you will find a small painting of a Mali motif, the Chi Wara. According to the author's notes, the female Chi Wara is an antelope like creature with a baby on it's back. The figure represents the relationship between earth and humans. Leo & Diane Dillon's watercolor and colored pencil illustrations depict the relationship and expand on it in a picture book by Ellen Jackson, Earth Motheravailable at the Virginia Beach Public Library.

Curious about what children are doing in other parts of the world? Check out While You Are Sleeping: A Lift-the-Flap Book of Time Around the World. To embrace more of the African culture, try Lala Salama: A Tanzanian Lullaby.

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