Just Imagine

Maisie’s Scrapbook

Authored by Samuel Narh
Illustrated by Jo Loring-Fisher
Published by Lantana

A Lantana picturebook which shows a little girl’s experience of growing up in a dual heritage family. The endpapers remind us that this is her scrapbook in which she is sticking photographs and sketches of her parents. She is creating her own memories and exploring her identity. The simple image on the title page of her casually lying on her stomach in the grass and drawing in her scrapbook is so powerful.

In the beautiful mixed-media illustrations of the seasons and the landscapes (both real and imaginary), the reader accompanies Maisie on a year in her life as she grows with the seasons. The effective use of repetition in certain sentences and the simple similes ‘She’s as relentless as spring rain‘ show the steadfastness of her parents and her growth within that. ‘Maisie rubs petals between her fingers. Tears roll down her cheeks. Mama won’t let her play with the bull by the fence’. Maisie repeatedly feels the comfort of her mama’s arms while her dada tells her to look up to the stars and the clouds as he tells her ‘tall tales’ which will root her in her African heritage. Maisie is aware of the contrasts between her parents in their names or choices for food, clothes and music but ‘They hug her in the same way‘.

A joyful picturebook which is a perfect read aloud from Early Years onwards and it would make an inspiring start for a project on families through scrapbooks. Most importantly another much needed addition to the world of picturebooks which reflects realities for many of our children.