Story Boat

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

Story Boat is written by Kyo Maclear and based on young refugee children that are forced to leave their home. The premise of the story could apply to homeless children, orphans, or children that move around a lot. Story Boat is targeted for young children; however, for a child to fully understand the story, a parent or educator would need to explain about children living in these types of environments. 
In Story Boat, a brother and sister are traveling with their mother to find a safe place to live. While on their journey, the sister and brother occupy their time by playing games out of simple items: a teacup becomes a boat, a blanket turns into a sail, a flashlight turns into a lighthouse, and a flower becomes a ladder. Story Boat is an excellent reminder to our children about those less fortunate than ourselves and how simple items around the house can create a magical adventure.
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Story Boat is a lovely and sweet story about community and togetherness but the illustrations are really the star of this show! They are soft and dreamlike and complement the lyrical quality of the text well.
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This is such a beautiful poetic book told from the perspective of the children. As you look deeper into the illustrations, it shows this is a book about immigration. Some of the adults look anguished or crying. This is a great book to use for discussion.
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The illustrations in this book are quite compelling and are done in a way that a child will easily relate to them. The subject is presented with warmth and care. With a little explanation from an adult, even a young child will better understand the plight of the refugee with help from this book.
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I have mixed feelings about this book and not sure how to rate it.  The artwork is lovely and soft.  The subject matter is depressing yet relevant to the times.  There is a constant bounce between being stressed and sad to having fun and being imaginative.  It just weighs heavy on me.
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This beautifully illustrated book helps introduce the plight of refugees to young children. This is not a complete account, but it is a way to begin to talk about this subject with younger children.
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Story Boat is a story about home--leaving home and finding home. Story Boat beautifully illustrates the journey of immigrants travelling to find a new home. Along the way home is where you are and what you make of it--here. The children in the story use everyday objects to show how home and the journey to a new home is valued.
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First off, the illustration is beautiful, and I loved the whimsical feel of the book, but something was missing for me. I had trouble grasping the story line, what was supposed to be happening, and what I was meant, as a reader, to gain from the story.

It seemed like this story explored the theme of “home is where you make it”. Or maybe that home is a feeling more so than a place. I think this is an interesting and unique concept to explore in a children’s book. I also like that the book is exposing kids to a culture that might be different from their own.
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ARC was bitter sweet and warm to read through because even the protagonists and their family appearance feels similar yet different to a regional can tell by their plight it is meant to represent refugees. I did like even the journey is long for the children, they still seem to find hope and warmth during this journey. I feel this narrative has a place in school + family libraries.
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A family, which includes a girl and her little brother, join in a caravan of immigrants leaving all that is familiar behind.  Where are they going they wonder?  They must locate a place to settle and find a home.  It's winter and the trek is long and difficult for everyone as they must carry what little belongings they have in backpacks and bags ever in search of a new life. 

"Here is a cup. 
Old and fine, warm as a hug.

Every morning,
As things keep changing,
We sit wherever we are 
And sip, sip, sip,
Sippy, sip, sip
From this cup."

Every night the children snuggle together under a blanket to keep warm and protected from the cold.  They dream the blanket is a sail that attaches to their cup and it takes them far away places.  Their imaginations turn their lamp into a lighthouse, a beacon of light to guide them to a better place.  They always move along claiming wherever they stop is "here"!  The children find comfort in the familiar things they are carrying with them, the nomadic community they are travelling with,  and in their imaginations, which bring them hope.  

The children do child-like things along the way like write, read, and draw pictures to pass the time when they are stationary and not moving forward.   Finally they reach their destination and they now know that dreams do come true.  They found their ultimate "here!"

This warm, imaginative, lyrical tale affirms to the reader that home is right where you are at the present time.   This heartfelt story introduces young readers to the refugee crisis that seems to be escalating worldwide as families set off on a journey to find a new safe home... a difficult journey that is fuelled by hope and the dream of a better life for all. 

The illustrations are vivid and very affective enriching the thoughtful text.  I highly recommend this book.
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A beautiful story about where home is and how to find it when you can’t be there. Whatever the reason for a person leaving their home it’s beautiful knowing that you can be home wherever you are.

I felt the colors created this sad moody scene and it worked so well alongside the positive mindset of the story.
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Story Boat is a touching picture book about a child’s view of the refugee experience. We can all use a reminder that when you’ve got next to nothing, you can still find hope in the little things. The author takes us on a child’s journey to imaginary places using only what is around: a teacup, blanket, flower, lamp, and thankfully a sweet story. The book focuses on the word “Here” and what that concept means when here can be anywhere when you’re on the move or displaced. The illustrations are beautiful and the language is simple and gentle. The content is relevant to school aged children who have experienced being a refugee and to raise awareness and compassion among others. 

**Thank you to NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy in exchange for an honest review.**
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This story and illustrations in this book are super sweet. I think this is a really good conversation starter to explain to young children the immigration refugees experience.
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A warm, poetic journey of young children traveling with their family in search of home. Vivid, affecting illustrations and thoughtful prose pull the reader into the rich narrative.
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The illustrations were very pretty and uniquely drawn. I had some trouble following the story with the repetition of the words. However, the concept was very good!
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Sad, but hopeful story of refugees finding a new home, but for now HERE is home. Wherever they may be, every stop, every item they have or see becomes part of their story and part of their journey. So many refugees everywhere. It sometimes seems as if the world never tires of displacing it's inhabitants, by force, or otherwise. So tragic. I think this book might be useful in explaining refugees to very young children.  I loved the illustrations.
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This is a short book with beautiful illustrations and a sweet message. It would be a good way to teach children about refugees and welcoming others.
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Kyo Maclear is one of my favorite, speak to the heart authors. He has a way to getting to the point of the story not only with words, but also with the illustrations and Story Boat was no exception. Maclear tells the story of "here" through someone who has an ever changing view of what here and home mean. It was beautiful, heart felt and emotional. This would be an excellent book to share about immigration or the refugee experience. I will find myself thinking about this book often. All classrooms should have this book!
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This is a beautiful picture book about the refugee experience that manages to be hopeful but honest and somehow sweet and loving without glossing over the realities of what it's like to be a refugee child. Colorful illustrations depict a family with other refugees as they travel. The weather is sometimes bad and faces often sad. Babies often cry and the seas can be stormy. But the mother is comforting and the family embraces the cup that stays the same, the blanket that warms them and the lamp that lights their way, which all define "here" when the place changes every day.

Sample text:

Here is a blanket.
Patterned and soft, color of apricots.

Every night,
When the world feels not quite cozy,
And everyone seems weary
From hoping and hurrying,
We snuggle and dream
Under this blanket.

This is a lovely book that can show children what it's like to be a refugee child but also could be a wonderful book for refugee children themselves, who can relate to the family in the story.

(One small note -- in one scene, the mother is shown bottle feeding her small baby. This depicts a dangerous situation since families in crisis situations often have no means of getting a continual source of formula or safe water to mix it with (to learn more about the issue see Showing her nursing her baby would have been a much more realistic and positive image. I'm not sure why we still can't feel comfortable just showing a mother breastfeeding her baby in a picture book and have to show a bottle instead, but I wish we could get past this and normalize breastfeeding in children's books.)

All in all, this is a wonderful book that I wish wasn't so needed today. Highly recommended.

I read a temporary digital ARC of this book for the purpose of review.
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