Two Cultures, Two Stories

Liliana and I have found the most extraordinary book, beautiful in every way!  And guess what?  It’s for adults and children.

C’mere a minute.  You have to see this.  Look what author/illustrator Jeannie Baker did with collages and storytelling in her book Mirror.  It’s remarkable.

Here’s the front cover.

If you flip the book over, you begin to see that all is not as it seems.

Open the first page, and you see the beginning of two stories, side-by-side.  The one on the left in English, the one on the right in Moroccan.

It’s starting to get interesting, no?

“There are two boys and two families in this book.

One family lives in a city in Australia,

and one lives in Morocco, North Africa.

The lives of the two boys and their families

look very different from each other,

and they are different.

But some things connect them…

just as some things are the same for all families

no matter where they live.”

The two boys wake up.  Notice how Baker compares both experiences.

The Australian boy goes to the hardware store with his dad.

The Moroccan boy goes to the market with his father.

The artwork is luscious.  The love for different cultures is evident.  Perfect for teaching and learning.

I’ll let Baker explain the project in her own words…

“The idea for this book came from my delight traveling in a country very different from my own.  At the time, in my own country, there was much political poisoning of attitudes toward foreigners and foreignness.  But traveling alone in remote Morocco, a woman “stranger” myself, I was met with much friendliness and generosity from “strangers.”  The idea for the book was right there: that outward appearances may be very different but the inner person of a “stranger” may not be a stranger at all.  Like each other, we live to be loved by family and friends and to be part of a larger family, a community.  Inwardly we are so alike, it could be each other we see when we look in a mirror.”


[Post image: Closeup of Moroccan family eating, from Jeannie Baker’s Mirror]

One Comment

  1. worthy
    Mar 24, 2011

    i. love. this.

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The quote I live by

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language. Do not now look for the answers. They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them. It is a question of experiencing everything. At present you need to live the question. Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.
--Rainer Maria Rilke in Letters to a Young Poet

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