Just Imagine

Lubna and Pebble

Authored by Wendy Meddour
Illustrated by Daniel Egnéus
Published by Oxford University Press

This collaboration between Wendy Meddour and Daniel Egnéus has resulted in a lovely and timely book. Lubna’s best friend and confidante is a pebble called Pebble. Lubna feels safe in the World of Tents with Pebble by her side and Daddy to watch over her. When Amir arrives, friendless and alone, Lubna knows what to do…

Adults know that one of the best things a good book can do is engender empathy in the reader. The beautiful relationships depicted here will touch readers. In addition, this book provides a perfect opening for discussing the ever-growing refugee crisis and the immense challenges faced by displaced people, desperately in need of humanity, compassion and refuge. Finally, this book personalises and dignifies a child and her father. It shows how, even in conditions of deprivation, we can still show love and compassion for others less fortunate.

Egnéus is a self-taught artist, famous for the dreamy quality of his illustrations and paintings. Here, he depicts Lubna, her Dad, and Amir with olive skin, dark hair and large brown eyes. He positions the reader down low and close to them in the action. He provides gaps for us to fill. Children can speculate why Amir’s shadow is first a dark, and then a flourishing, pomegranate tree. Meddour has chosen her names carefully too. Her pared-down text is superb. And together they show that, irrespective of skin-tone or culture, we all need love. This is a book for every school library.