There are a lot of wonderful and beautiful picture books about kindness, empathy, generosity, and forgiveness. The special thing about Shelter, by Céline Claire and Qin Leng is this is a seemingly simple story about all of those big, complicated emotions.
There is a huge storm approaching in the forest and the animals all prepare for it by hunkering down in their shelters with their stores of food. Two strangers approach and ask each family for shelter. Each turns them away, back into the cold night.
When the fox family’s den caves in they must go out into the storm and ask for help. They see a warm glow in the snow and follow the aroma of spice tea to the home of the strangers who they had turned away. The strangers offer forgiveness and kindness and welcome them into their shelter.
It’s hard to show inside interiors of animal homes while at the same time showing the changing climate outside of it. Qin Leng’s beautiful watercolor and ink illustrations move us in and out of environments by the clever use of light, blowing leaves, and moves us forward with each page turn.
Kids will be able to make the connection for inclusion by relating to both sides of the fence. Have they been the kid who was excluded from game the other’s started, or were they on the team that told the new child they couldn’t play?
This feels like a classic fable. Not preachy. Not in your face. But one that will warm your heart for a long time to come.
The winner of a signed art print and the book, Sometimes You Fly—- is Amanda Sincavage!
Congratulations!!!! If you can please email me through my website with your address and inscription I will send them out to you!