Following The Most Beautiful Village in the World (2018) and The Circus Comes to the Village (2019), Kobayashi offers the tale of a boy’s return to his homeland after it has been through war.
After leaving his small village in Afghanistan, young Mirado travels the world with the circus, playing the flute that his father gave him. He hears on the radio that the war, which his father joined and hasn’t returned from yet, has ended. Mirado sets his mind on going back to Paghman, his village. After saying goodbye to his circus colleagues, he embarks eastward on a long and rough trip. When neither train, bus, nor wagon can get him further, he walks. Throughout the book, readers see him in several urban and rural spaces, some of which may look familiar. Kobayashi’s landscapes will frequently take their breath away. Mirado journeys across mountains and forests, against the wind and in the cold. Kind strangers help him along the way, including other refugees attempting to return home. He will find his Paghman in ruins but will also meet his best friend, Yamo, and together, they will imagine and plan for a brighter future. This suspenseful and beautifully illustrated story, originally published in Japan in 2003, covers a topic unfrequented in children’s literature about refugees and one that’s often romanticized in real life: that of the return.
A moving book about kindness, friendship, and hope in the context of conflict and displacement.
(Picture book. 5-10)
Pub Date: yesterday
Page Count: 40
Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2020
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2020