Twenty artists from around the world illustrate many aspects of the concept of “freedom,” accompanying inspirational sayings from thinkers living and dead.
Illustrations range from the representational to the surreal in their interpretations. Mordicai Gerstein paints a black figure in a yellow dress emerging from a thicket of chains, brambles and nooses into a lush, green, bird-filled paradise to illustrate Harriet Tubman’s recollection of “cross[ing] that line.” Illustrating a quotation from Malala Yousafzai, 2014 Hans Christian Andersen winner Roger Mello, from Brazil, offers a brilliantly colored and patterned aerial view of a boat; in its prow, a long-haired figure sprawls, reading a book. Joining such familiar voices as the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Anne Frank are Mikhail Bakunin, a 19th-century Russian anarchist; Chief Standing Bear, a Ponca Indian who sued the U.S. Army and won; and two former prisoners of conscience, Armando Valladares, a Cuban artist, and Jack Mapanje, a Malawian poet. Barroux’s illustration of a pithy quote on freedom of expression from Ali Ferzat, a Syrian political cartoonist, gives potent visual meaning to “the power of the pen.” With an introduction by Michael Morpurgo, concluding thumbnail biographies of all the contributors, and endpapers displaying a serene, starry night sky from Peter Sís, it’s a handsome package indeed.
With proceeds going to Amnesty International, this album provides much food for thought for those children—and adults—who take the time to contemplate its pages. (Picture book. 5-12)