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list price: $22.95
edition:Hardcover
published: Nov 2021
pages: 32
ISBN:9781772782226
publisher: Pajama Press Inc.

A Sky-Blue Bench

by Bahram Rahman & Peggy Collins

tagged: special needs, self-esteem & self-reliance, school & education, diversity & multicultural
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $22.95
edition:Hardcover
published: Nov 2021
pages: 32
ISBN:9781772782226
publisher: Pajama Press Inc.
Description

It's Afghan schoolgirl Aria's first day back at school since her accident. She's excited, but she's also worried about sitting on the hard floor all day with her new prosthetic "helper-leg."

Just as Aria feared, sitting on the floor is so uncomfortable that she can't think about learning at all. She knows that before the war changed many things in Afghanistan, schools like hers had benches for students to sit at. If she had a bench, her leg would not hurt so much. The answer is obvious: she will gather materials, talk to Kaka Najar, the carpenter in the old city, and learn to build a bench for herself.

In A Sky-Blue Bench, Bahram Rahman, author of The Library Bus, returns again to the setting of his homeland, Afghanistan, to reveal the resilience and resolve of young children—especially young girls—who face barriers to education. Illustrator Peggy Collins imbues Aria with an infectious spunkiness and grit that make her relatable even to readers with a very different school experience. An author's note gently introduces an age-appropriate discussion of landmines and their impact on the lives of children in many nations, especially Afghanistan, which has the highest concentration of landmines of any country in the world.

Don't miss The Library Bus, also by Bahram Rahman

  • Winner of the Middle East Book Award
  • Finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award
  • Finalist for the Florida Literary Association Children's Book Award
  • Finalist for the OLA Forest of Reading Blue Spruce Award
  • Winner of the Northern Lights Book Award: Multicultural Category
About the Authors

Bahram Rahman was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and grew up during the civil war and the Taliban regime. He earned a medical degree at Kabul Medical University and a master’s degree in public policy at the University of Erfurt, Germany, while also working as an activist in Afghanistan in the areas of gender equality and youth political participation. Bahram came to Canada as a refugee in 2012, and today he is a senior policy advisor at the Ministry of Health in Ontario. His first picture book, Governor General’s Literary Award finalist The Library Bus, was praised by the New York Times for documenting the barriers to education experienced by girls in war-torn countries and their resilience and ingenuity in overcoming them. His Fall 2021 picture book A Sky-Blue Bench has received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews, which calls it “a timely, eye-opening portrait of resilience, community, and hope.”

Author profile page >

Peggy Collins is a veteran illustrator of over a dozen picture books, both fiction and non-fiction including In the Garden and In the Snow, both of which were included in the CCBC's list of Best Books for 2010. Though she has dabbled in all sorts of media, she now works primarily in gouache, pencil crayon, and ink.
Author profile page >
Recommended Age and Grade
Age:
5 to 8
Grade:
1 to 3
Awards
  • , Indiana Young Hoosier Award Consideration List
  • Winner, ALA Schneider Family Book Award Honor Book
  • Short-listed, 49th Shelf Top Grade Winter List
  • Short-listed, Quill & Quire “2021 Best of Fall guide: Kids’ books”
  • Winner, Foreword Reviews Book of The Day (Nov 3rd)
  • Short-listed, The New York Times “What to Read: Four Children’s Books”
  • Short-listed, Kirkus Reviews “Best Books of 2021 Celebrating Community”
  • Short-listed, Harvard Book Store “New This Week: Kids & Young Adult”
Editorial Review

Praise for A Sky-Blue Bench

2022 ALA Schneider Family Book Award Honor Book Winner

2023 Indiana Young Hoosier Award Consideration List Selection

2021 The New York Times “What to Read: Four Children’s Books” selection

2021 Kirkus Reviews ‘Best Books of 2021 Celebrating Community’ selection

2021 Foreword Reviews Book of The Day (Nov 3rd)

2021 Harvard Book Store “New This Week: Kids & Young Adult” selection

2021 Quill & Quire “2021 Best of Fall guide: Kids’ books” selection

2022 49th Shelf Top Grade Winter List Selection

2021 49th Shelf “Books for Back to School” selection

2022 49th Shelf “Books that Inspire Students to Overcome Adversity” selection

★ STARRED REVIEW “A timely, eye-opening portrait of resilience, community, and hope.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Together with her mother and brother, Aria decides to build a bench herself, painting it skyblue: the color of “courage, peace and wisdom.”—Foreword Reviews

★ STARRED REVIEW “This is a touching and timely book that portrays the hardships many children in Afghanistan and other war-torn countries face. The author illustrates this beautifully and adds an informative and heartfelt “Author’s Note” that’ll leave a notable impression on young readers.”—Seattle Book Review

“[A] heartwarming story about a resilient young girl who faces a barrier to her education.”—Quill & Quire

“Illustrator Peggy Collins imbues Aria with an infectious spunkiness and grit that make her relatable even to readers with a very different school experience. An author's note gently introduces an age-appropriate discussion of landmines and their impact on the lives of children in many nations, especially Afghanistan…”—CBC Books

“[A] poignant story recognizing the resilience and determination of young children, particularly girls, living in war-torn countries…. Aria’s courage, in the face of adversity, will resonate with children, no matter what their background, as will the significance of the colour blue, a symbol of hope.”—Canadian Children’s Book News

“How beautiful and heart-breaking to read this lovely picture book about a young girl…who finds a way to be comfortable at school by building her own bench. The ingenuity and determination of Afghani women and girls is explored…”—Youth Services Book Review

“A Sky-Blue Bench shares a valuable lesson of resilience and that children, specifically girls, can do anything that they put their minds to.”—Metroland Toronto

“The narrative was powerful and impactful and drew specifically on some experiences the author had growing up in Afghanistan. There is an authors note with terms that I think will be helpful to parents/caregivers if they read this will children.”—Bookishrealm, Goodreads

“[An] inspiring story of resilience, determination, and grit.”—Little Bookworm Club

“Peggy Collins fills her spreads…with digital artwork that reveals the emotions felt, the support of community, and the determination of a child to make a difference for herself and others…”—Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“Beautiful story, beautiful lessons and beautiful illustrations…”—Book Time

“I genuinely enjoyed the illustrations and little Aria finding a way to make a bench so she could sit comfortably at school with her prosthetic leg.”—Kirin, Goodreads

“I love her determination and ingenuity. The illustrations are colorful, and the text is easy for elementary students to read and understand.”—Israa, Goodreads

“Readers will see the importance of accessible spaces for everyone….The story is an example of strength and self-advocating.”—Storytime with Stephanie

A Sky-Blue Bench may be a story from Afghanistan but its lessons about self-reliance and resourcefulness will speak to all children, especially those facing their own challenges, and encourage them to find solutions.”—CanLit for Little Canadians

“[T]he challenges that Aria faces as an amputee are shown honestly, her emotions and struggles depicted realistically but not in a way that showed her as helpless… She had agency and voice. More of this representation please.”—@alissareadsabook

“A heartbreaking and heartwarming story all at once.” The International Educator