British-born, Sydney-based collage artist and children’s author Jeannie Baker returns this fall with one of her most moving picture books to date. A day in the life of two families—one urban Australian, the other Moroccan villager—unfolds simultaneously in a uniquely designed pictorial brought to life by Baker’s vivid and intricate imagery and detail. Inspired by a holiday she took seven years ago in southern Morocco, the artist returned two years later to immerse herself in remote village life in the country’s storied Valley of the Roses. “I loved the differences I found between the Berber culture and mine,” says Baker. “What I see is the sheer richness of different nationalities and cultures, a richness that will no doubt diminish as our Western culture spreads. We really need to celebrate these differences and diversities while we can.” Mirror’s delightful mix of textures and colors is rendered tactile and alive in the photographs, eliciting playful interaction from young children. What unfolds, Baker hopes, is a glimpse into one of humanity’s universal truths: “Showing the lives of the two families, side by side, we see… even with all these differences, we are the same. We are the mirror of each other.”
Jeannie Baker shares her five favorite picture books with Kirkus—and now you:
The Snowman, by Raymond Briggs—"A beautifully haunting, playful, wordless picture story."
Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak—"Brilliant in its structure and design, with irresistable appeal."
Gorilla, by Anthony Browne—"A surreal fantasy with thought-provoking images that will touch a child’s heart."
Dog In, Cat Out, by Gillian Rubenstein and Ann James—"Original in concept, playfully amusing and simply written in a way that encourages very young children to learn to read for themselves."
My Place, by Nadia Wheatley and Donna Rawlins—"The fascinating 200-year history of a street as told by generations of children who have lived there. Thought provoking, playfully charming, with depth."
For a list of all the other picture books that really make you think among our Best Children's Books of 2010, click here.
It's been a year of picture-book bounty—to see our complete list of the best of 2010, click here.
Candlewick / November / 9780763648480 / $18.99 / All ages