What You Need to Be Warm

Quill Tree/HarperCollins/. Oct. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780063358089.
PreS-Gr 4–The plight of refugees in the cold winter of 2019 led Gaiman to solicit responses from his followers on social media about what it means to be warm. Weaving threads together from these suggestions, he created a lyrical free verse poem that beautifully captures warmth on many levels that will resonate and challenge readers. Warmth is “a baked potato,” “trust,” or even a stranger in a dark place holding out a “badly knitted scarf.” Each spread, illustrated in muted tones of black, gray, white, and orange, captures the sentiment of the poem and evoke the challenging circumstances refugees face, and the simple acts or moments that can provide warmth. Many artists contributed their work, and each has a statement at the end detailing their response to the poem and the choices they made with their illustrations. Young artists could be given the same challenge to add their vision of warmth based on the text, and young poets could be asked to continue the poem with their own ideas.
VERDICT Highly recommended. Useful in art or language arts classes, this title would also serve as a gentle but challenging, introduction to social studies or current events units on the contemporary refugee crisis or migration throughout history.

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