Books by Dorrith M. Sim

IN MY POCKET by Dorrith M. Sim
Released: April 1, 1997

Sim's first picture book powerfully universalizes a life- altering event of her childhood, the sending of German Jewish children away from their parents to the UK where they would be safe from the Nazis. The narrator shares her fears—most children's fears—of having to sleep in a room full of strangers and of others getting lost at night on the way back from the bathrooms on the boat to England. She arrives in Scotland, where she must adapt to the ways of her new, English-speaking, family. The importance of small kindnesses, e.g., the man who returns the narrator's lost stuffed dog, the generosity of the new family, loom large against the backdrop of war. Although the girl receives a letter from her natural parents, the story ends as the child puts the letter away in her pocket, for the time when there is ``no more war.'' It's a devastating close, and for the picture-book audience, the book's one shortcoming, for it leaves an explanation of the parents' fate to those less qualified than the author, or worse, to children's imaginations. Soft illustrations imbue the tale with the blurred edges of memory, and in the children's faces and postures, capture the melancholy surrounding the separation. Reproductions of the author's traveling papers, complete with photo, serve as a poignant reminder of the story's origins in history. (Picture book. 5-8) Read full book review >