Author: Liz Lofthouse
Illustrator: Robert Ingpen
US Publisher: Kane/Miller
Age group: Elementary aged children to adults
Setting and story:
Ziba Came on a Boat is a stunning picture book with a story, illustrations and backdrop like no other - people escaping war and violence in search of a new land. And with it, they hope for freedom.
The setting in the story is a boat somewhere in the middle of an "endless" ocean. Ziba, a little girl, rides it with her mother and a group of other people. You can't help but notice the gray and blue colors on the pages, and the sorrow-filled expressions on the faces of the people riding the boat leading you to immediately realize they are not part of a fun-filled and entertaining journey, and you start to wonder if they are refugees of war. Where are they going and what is their story, particularly, the little girl's?
he story begins like this:
Ziba came on a boat. A soggy old fishing boat
That creaked and moaned as it rose and fell,
Rose and fell, across an endless sea…
As you turn the pages, the setting changes from the boat to a village in a hilly area. Ziba's memories flash back, and she recalls her life in the village with other family members and friends before escaping the war-torn land. Thoughts of home washed over Ziba like the surge of the sea washing over the deck.
Ziba's initial thoughts revolve around happy times - when she played with her village friends, when mother cooked meals for the family, when father told her many tales... You are just starting to feel good with Ziba, when all of a sudden, her thoughts drift to the sad events - when she could no longer go to school and had to stay behind the mud walls. And then, finally when her village was torn apart with violence, the family had to escape the battle-torn land.
Gunfire echoed through the village. Angry voices surrounded her. Clutching her mother’s hand, Ziba ran on and on through the night, far away from the madness until there...
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