Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers: A Story Inspired by Loujain AlHathloul
Lina AlHathloul and Uma Mishra-Newbery, illus. by Rebecca Green. MineditionUS, $18.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-66265-064-2
Inspired by activist Loujain AlHathloul (b. 1989), who, back matter reveals, was incarcerated for her work “to change laws in Saudi Arabia that made it illegal for women to drive cars,” this meandering picture book by her sister Lina AlHathloul, with Mishra-Newbery, follows Loujain, who dreams of flying like her baba to “the carpet of a million sunflowers.” Only men are allowed to fly using the detachable wings depicted in Green’s acrylic gouache and colored pencil illustrations; however, Loujain persists in following dreams that, with others’ help, come true. One spread showcases Loujain and her father flying as sensory-rich prose describes their journey: “She ran her fingers like a comb through the awakening purple clouds.” By positioning Loujain in a fantastical world—even if its internal logic occasionally lapses—this authorial debut successfully makes a real-life issue accessible for the youngest audiences. Back matter includes more about Loujain AlHathloul. Ages 4–8. (Mar.)
Correction: A quotation used in this review has been adjusted for clarity.
Reviewed on: 12/09/2021