JEMMY BUTTON by Jennifer Uman and Valerio Vidali (Templar)
The true story of a boy from Tierra del Fuego transported to Victorian England for a price of a mother-of-pearl button, in the colonialist hopes that he could be "civilized" and return to his own land to spread this influence. It didn't work. What does work is the artwork, making this title among The Most Beautiful Books in the Whole Wide World, truly, cover-your-mouth-and-gasp beauty, the likes of which I don't think has been seen since The Provensons. The jungle! The sea! The cold, concrete cityscape!
With minimal text and maximum punch, double-page spreads with Europeans represented as faceless silhouettes to represent the disconnection plucks a deep chord about belonging, and what it really means to be civilized. Are some cultures "better" than others, or does each have something unique to offer? What an important conversation to have with children now. Some books make you think of the awards they will win, and other books have already won by existing. A must-have. (6 and up)
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