cover image What You Need to Be Warm

What You Need to Be Warm

Neil Gaiman, illus. by Yuliya Gwilym et al. Quill Tree, $18.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-335808-9

Aiming to raise money to help refugees caught in the cold of winter, Newbery Medalist and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ambassador Gaiman crowdsourced memories of warmth online, weaving them into an evocative poem that speaks to experiences of comfort. The resultant work is illustrated in this volume by 13 collaborators, some emigres themselves, in spreads that share a grayscale palette accented with fiery orange. Accompanying lines about garments (“Wear a scarf./ Wear a coat./ Wear a sweater./ Wear socks”), Beth Suzanna draws adults helping a child into cozy clothes. Marie-Alice Harel imagines a mound of sleeping creatures gathered around a dove and encircled by a slumbering dragon (“An infant as/ she sleeps between us./ A tumble of dogs,/ a kindle of cats”), while Bagram Ibatouilline’s stark, photorealistic image shows a family huddled by a fire in a desert, and Benji Davies’s inky fantasy forefronts a child crossing the sea in a boat guarded by two mermaids. Envisioning warmth as both a baked potato and a blanket knit by a loved one, the thoughtful free verse lines build to a powerful final expression: “You have the right to be here.” Figures are depicted with a variety of skin tones. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)