Drawn Across Borders: True Stories of Human Migration

George Butler. Candlewick Studio, $18.99 (56p) ISBN 978-1-5362-1775-9
Between 2011 and 2018, British artist and reporter Butler traveled to a dozen locations where people have been forced by circumstances beyond their control to leave their homes, documenting in words and pictures the individuals and environments he encountered. The result is an elegant, spare, and moving collection of histories that are coupled with muted pen-and-ink and watercolor images. Devoting two spreads to each place, Butler begins with a concise history of the events that forced migration, be it the 2011 civil war in Syria—where he drew children playing on a burnt-out government tank—or urbanization in Kenya, which brought the traditionally nomadic Masai people to settle among “the infamous slums of Nairobi.” The landscapes, cityscapes, and portraits are predominantly illustrated in varying shades of gray and brown with occasional spots of color, creating an affecting and somber ambiance. Butler’s measured first-person narrative includes his own reactions and reflections (“Only by understanding individual cases better can we properly respond to migration as a whole”); a closing note updates some of the individuals’ situations and affirms migration as “the right to move for a better future.” Ages 10–up. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 02/04/2021
Release date: 03/16/2021
Genre: Children's
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