Though avid readers know that books are precious, that this one contains the history of a people uprooted by war makes it more precious, and its existence makes it impossible to erase the culture…A poignant and accessible story about the importance of the survival of a people’s history as well as of the people themselves. Excellent.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
This refugee parable is presented in intentionally ambiguous terms, with the collage (incorporating pages of the destroyed books) and color palette complementing the tone…This is not a message about the specifics of war, but one of refugees’ hopeful perseverance through cherished stories and objects they preserve for future generations.
This beautifully written and illustrated picture book is an excellent read-aloud and discussion starter for elementary school classes talking about war and the resilience of displaced peoples.
—School Library Journal
This book provides a sobering look at what happens when people are forced to flee their country and need to determine what is important enough to save…The value of libraries is also extolled as the family book is returned to the shelves so that others can share the knowledge found in its pages. This title would work best in one-on-one readings so that the text can be explained.
—School Library Connection
This account of one fictional refugee family’s experience is made all the more heart-rending by the characters’ stoicism: tears are not something in which people like Peter and his father can indulge. The pencil, watercolor, and collage art, which has a three-dimensional quality, features what look like pages torn from books written in various languages, suggesting the different voices and common humanity of victims of wartime displacement.
—The Horn Book
Beautifully expressive illustrations perfectly complement this moving story of the importance of stories, of people displaced by unwanted circumstances and the determination to carry on and do the right thing.
—Reading Eagle (from Kendal Rautzhan’s "Books to Borrow")