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Here’s a quick post to share some art from a striking new picture book on shelves, Anna Baccelliere’s I Like, I Don’t Like, illustrated by Ale + Ale (Eerdmans, March 2017). Ale + Ale is Alessandro Lecis and Alessandra Panzeri, Italian artists who have a studio in Paris.

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I’m a school librarian by training, and though I’m freelance writing now and not currently in a school library, that school-librarian part of my brain gets excited when I see books like this. That is, I think about teachers who may need particular books at different moments in their curriculum throughout the year. Those teachers wanting to talk to students about child labor—and, really, I’d use this book with middle schoolers or high schoolers too—would be wise to pick up a copy of this.

In a series of eleven spreads, Baccelliere juxtaposes two children from wildly different socioeconomic classes. On each spread, the child on the verso, clearly a child privileged in one or more ways, plays with toys or friends, revels in nature, eats, relaxes, and generally enjoys a worry-free life. However, the poorer child on the recto is shown engaged in labor. “I like soccer balls,” say a group of kids kicking a soccer ball around a field. The barefoot child on the right is seen actually constructing a soccer ball, bent down with a thick thread and staring right at the reader.

You can see examples of two of these spreads in this post.

The final spread, pictured below, depicts a child starkly asking, “what is playing?” The book, originally published in Italy, closes with a note about poverty, child labor, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Following this is a page called “How Can I Help?” It includes brief notes on Amnesty International and UNICEF.

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Arresting and sobering (the Kirkus review calls it a “hard, heartfelt read”), this one will spark thought-provoking conversations for children the world-over. For suburban American children, in particular, it will be an eye-opener, to say the least.

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I LIKE, I DON’T LIKE. English edition published in 2017 under license from edizioni ARKA by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. Illustration used by permission of the publisher.

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jules

Julie Davidson (Jules) conducts interviews and features of authors and illustrators at her acclaimed blog, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast, a children’s literature blog primarily focused on illustration and picture books. The above blog was posted at 7-Imp on May 16, 2017.