Reviews /

Choose Love

Authored by Nicola Davies
Illustrated by Petr Horáček
Published by Graffeg

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Choose Love:

Prolific author Nicola Davies’ association with Choose Love (a humanitarian movement which offers practical assistance to refugees) and the Refugee Trauma Initiative charity fuelled her desire to know more about experiences of people who have become dislocated from their homes through war, oppression and famine. Her response is a sequence of poems which vary in form (and it has to be said quality – I wished, as poems, they were better crafted) but all of them offer visceral pulses of language and stark impressions that invite rereading and thinking.

The book itself is a striking volume: a tall, narrow hardback picture book, within which are four poems for each of three sections, corresponding with the journey of a refugee: Departure, Arrival and Healing. The poems are clearly laid out in sans serif font on white backgrounds and each faces a full-page artwork by renowned illustrator Petr Horáček. Some of these pictures are more abstract than illustrative, but all of them stir a response from the reader. They form an excellent contrast to the accessible, simply constructed poems and would be a good stimulus for teachers with Upper KS2 readers and above to generate the conversations between image and text.