You’re Strong With Me follows a patient mother giraffe guiding her calf through the young giraffe’s first experience of the dry season. The relationship between nurturing parent and curious infant is explored within the setting of the scorched grassland and the new challenges it poses for the characters.
The book is visually striking. Poonam Mistry’s illustrations immediately grab the attention of the reader thanks to the intricate detail and the unique patterns inspired by African and Indian folk art traditions. This original artwork was initially created with ink and completed digitally, and is the absolute highlight of the book. It is difficult to recall any children’s literature which is supported by such elaborate and beautifully patterned designs. Children will undoubtedly be enthralled by each page, with new features and details seemingly appearing every time you look again. This book has to be seen to be believed!
The central relationship between the mother and baby is another source of enjoyment from You’re Strong with Me. The reassurance provided by the older giraffe sends an important message to young readers about listening to the wisdom and advice of others to be supported through new and unknown situations that could potentially be unsettling. This could help younger readers to understand how to use the relationships around them to build their awareness of, and resilience to, the world around them. The books could also be used by educators or parents to develop an understanding of the subject-specific vocabulary about the grassland setting as part of any geography-based learning that focuses on locations with this type of terrain.
The illustrations alone would be enough of a basis to widely recommend this book for children of primary age. I will now be looking out for the previous books in this series, (You’re Snug With Me and You’re Safe With Me) in the hopes that they are as visually stunning as You’re Strong With Me.
Listen to Chitra Sounder discuss the Indian roots of her stories In the Reading Corner
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