Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Day 8. Good Night, Commander

Book 20
It is not often that a picture book feels so counter cultural to me, yet when it comes to speaking about the affects of the Iran-Iraq War on children I think it's a very powerful thing that picture books can challenge our perceptions of world events.

At the risk of oversimplifying the plot, this story focuses on a boy who is about to meet his new mommy. His mother was a victim to the casualties of war and the boy is determined to avenge his death. His family gathers for dinner at his house. All the while he envisions his encounter with the enemy, pulling himself across his bedroom floor with the help of his prosthetic leg. When he finally encounters the enemy (his future step-brother), the two lock (toy) guns on one another in a difficult scene that escalates to both boys shouting, "If you don't drop your gun, I'll shoot." The situation deescalates when the main character realizes the enemy boy is also disabled. They part on a hopeful note and the main character shares to the reader that he feels ashamed he did not avenge his mother.

It's probably the most challenging picture book I've ever read, but I'm thankful it's in our collection for the very unique audience it will reach.

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