cover image Where Butterflies Fill the Sky: A Story of Immigration, Family, and Finding Home

Where Butterflies Fill the Sky: A Story of Immigration, Family, and Finding Home

Zahra Marwan. Bloomsbury, $18.99 (48p) ISBN 978-1-5476-0651-1

Based, per an author’s note, on Marwan’s childhood experience migrating from Kuwait to New Mexico, this dreamlike picture book traces a family’s similar arc. Young Zahra, the story’s narrator, loves her home, “where one hundred butterflies are always in the sky” and “where my ancestors live and are always watching.” But “people say we don’t belong here,” and Zahra’s family must inexplicably travel to live someplace far away (“I say my goodbyes without knowing why”), a journey rendered as a physical tumult for the tan-skinned household, which flies through the air across a spread to a desertscape. There, Zahra initially feels out of place but soon finds a sense of community and home, missing family but spotting “one hundred balloons” in the sky. With loose, thin-lined illustrations that reflect the child’s feelings of being unmoored, this spare picture book thoughtfully explores the difficulties of limited childhood perspective and settling in a new place. Back matter includes contextualizing notes. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)