It’s one of my favourite weeks of the year: Book Week!
I was so excited when I entered my local library yesterday and saw the The Children’s Book Council of Australia Shortlisted Books display. There, in the center, was a children’s picture book set in Thailand! I may have even squealed a little.
One Step at a Time is written by Jane Jolly and illustrated by Sally Heinrich. It has not only been shortlisted, but won the Honour Book in the Picture Book category.
It is a tale of struggle, courage and friendship.
High in the mountains lives a boy called Luk and his baby elephant Mali. While in the forest one day, Mali steps on a landmine.
Mali is rushed to hospital. The monks give Mali a blessing and Luk keeps him company.
Slowly Mali grows stronger, but she can’t walk on only three legs. One day some people arrive with a leg made of plastic especially for Mali.
It is then we learn the true bond that Mali and Luk have, and how obstacles can be overcome.
Heinrich’s illustrations for One Step at a Time are reproductions of hand coloured lino prints. The images are rich in detail. Lush jungles, ornate temples and little images depicting subtle moments add greatly to this moving story.
This book includes information at the end about landmines. It says that there is estimated to be more than 110 million active mines scattered in more than 70 countries. Many of these are in South East Asia, especially Cambodia, Laos, Burma and Thailand.
A percentage of the royalties from One Step at a Time go to SafeGround. This is an organisation whose goal is to advocate for ways to make unsafe ground safe and to prevent safe ground from becoming unsafe.
How wonderful that this story has been shortlisted and won the Honour Book for the CBCA Picture Book of the Year.
Not only is it a beautifully written, touching tale, but it also highlights and raises money for a serious issue facing many people in South East Asia.
For more information you can visit lukandmali.wordpress.com