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Story Boat

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  404 ratings  ·  100 reviews
When you have to leave behind almost everything you know, where can you call home? Sometimes home is simply where we are: here. A picture book about the refugee experience through a child's eyes.

When a little girl and her younger brother are forced along with their family to flee the home they've always known, they must learn to make a new home for themselves -- wherever t
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published February 4th 2020 by Tundra Books (NY)
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Average rating 3.89  · 
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 ·  404 ratings  ·  100 reviews

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Dave Schaafsma
Yet another lovely picture book about the refugee crisis--and we're going to need more of these as the crises multiply--and though I like the meandering, sort of lyrical/symbolic writing just fine (and I'm a fan of Kyo Maclear generally), it just doesn't seem to be for kids. Maybe for parents to help translate for kids? The title refers to a process of making sense of your life through story wherever you may happen to be, a process where "here" is, for however long, also home.

I like it that obj
Beautifully illustrated. I appreciate that the author's talking about refugees, and what they take with them, and there's a certain lyricism to the story, but the book didn't quite work for me. ...more
La Coccinelle
Feb 05, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: children
Oh, dear. Here we go, publishing adult picture books again and trying to push them on kids.

The idea is fine. But the writing... No. It comes across as pretentious. It's clumsy. It's not clear. Couched in metaphor and pretty-sounding concepts, the words seem far too distanced from what they're trying to explain. If this is supposed to be a child's introduction to the refugee crisis, I'm afraid they're not going to be very enlightened:

Here is a cup.
Old and fine, warm as a hug.

Every morning,
As thin
Ivonne Rovira
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: every child!
Recommended to Ivonne by: NetGalley
This slim volume’s dedication from illustrator Rashin Kheiriyeh says it all: “To all innocent Syrian refugee children who have experienced horrible war and injustice at a young age. Each has their own story, and they said with their story boats like messengers of hope and peace.”

Story Boat makes the refugee experience comprehensible for young children while still leaving them hopeful. The lyrical words combine with the soft, chalk drawings to tell the tale of a little girl exchanging one “here”
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely beautiful story of an immigrant child's journey, told in simple yet rich metaphorical language and evocative imagery. Lovely and emotional, it celebrates the power of imagination and human resilience in trying circumstances. ...more
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book was just beautiful. So beautiful!
Alicia Bayer
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful picture book about the refugee experience that manages to be hopeful but honest and somehow sweet and loving without glossing over the realities of what it's like to be a refugee child. Colorful illustrations depict a family with other refugees as they travel. The weather is sometimes bad and faces often sad. Babies often cry and the seas can be stormy. But the mother is comforting and the family embraces the cup that stays the same, the blanket that warms them and the lamp t ...more
I have enjoyed many things written by this author but for some reason, with this one, I felt quite disconnected between the pictures and words. Plot point I get but not sure kids would. Beautifully illustrated.
Jess Smiley
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A warm, poetic journey of young children traveling with their family in search of home. Vivid, affecting illustrations and thoughtful prose pull the reader into the rich narrative.
Dec 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A family, which includes a girl and her little brother, join in a caravan of immigrants leaving all that is familiar behind. Where are they going they wonder? They must locate a place to settle and find a home. It's winter and the trek is long and difficult for everyone as they must carry what little belongings they have in backpacks and bags ever in search of a new life.

"Here is a cup.
Old and fine, warm as a hug.

Every morning,
As things keep changing,
We sit wherever we are
And sip, sip, sip,
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it
A simple story built around hope.

I feel children may find the concept a little confusing at times due to the writing being slightly more poetic and indirect. However, I think it is a must for them to read to help them understand the refugee crisis.
Abby Johnson
This is a lyrical, imaginative look at an immigrant's journey through a child's eyes. ...more
Tina Hoggatt
Aug 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In spare, poetic text accompanied by soft illustrations in a warm palette against a blue background the journey of many people is recognized, and the desire of a child to define where they are and what it means is answered in meaningful objects and hoped for destinations. Utterly beautiful.
Apr 07, 2020 rated it liked it
To those saying that Story Boat would not land with children, I say: Depends how you present it. Kids are masters and mistresses of imagination. Pencils are swords. Blankets are roofs. Playgrounds are castle, spaceships, submarines. Even nowadays, when children are less likely to look inward for entertainment, their inner dialogue with the world incorporates fantasy and novel reassignment of ordinary objects.

That being said, would Kyo Maclear's ode to refugees resonant as a read aloud? Probably
Sarah- Pupsandprose
Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it
First off, the illustration is beautiful, and I loved the whimsical feel of the book, but something was missing for me. I had trouble grasping the story line, what was supposed to be happening, and what I was meant, as a reader, to gain from the story.

It seemed like this story explored the theme of “home is where you make it”. Or maybe that home is a feeling more so than a place. I think this is an interesting and unique concept to explore in a children’s book. I also like that the book is expos
With the constant change and uncertainty that comes with fleeing their home, a girl invokes a new address, a new way of finding and being home.

Story Boat opens with a line of people of varying age and gender and mobility moving through the woods. Birds in flight above them, migration comes to mind. The narrator, the girl, announces: “Here we are.” But where is here? And how can “here” remain a constant if it always changing. “Here” becomes interchangeable with home, among other things. “Here” fi
Storytime With Stephanie
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I never pass up the opportunity to pluck a Kyo Maclear story off the shelves. Her work is so beautiful and always has a message that is desperate to be heard.

Story Boat by Kyo Maclear and Rashin Kheiriyeh is plain and simply gorgeous. The incredible illustrations in a striking complementary colour palette leaps off the shelves, just begging to be shared. Using a blue and orange palette and mixed media illustrations, Rashin Kheiriyeh draws the reader into the story, giving them so much to see and
I _teach_muggles
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
When you have had to leave everything behind, where do you call home? Sometimes there is no such place as home, home is a simple as wherever you are. And right now the two young children in the Story Boat are right here.

Story Boat is a beautiful picture book that tells the story of the migrant journey from a child’s perspective. Along the way the children enjoy doing the things that all children do, they write, they draw, they play, they sing songs. And after each long day of travelling and wher
Mar 14, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gift
Dedicated by the illustrator, Rashin Kheiriyeh, to the innocent Syrian refugee children who have experienced war, Story Boat is a picturebook that explores how new homes are created 'out of dreams and stories' and are less about the roof above our head.

The story follows a several families throughout their journey from left to right across the picture plane and through the book as they traverse through familiar yet fantastical landscapes on teacups and songs. The children's imaginations are what
Wayne McCoy
Feb 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: childrens
'Story Boat' by Kyo Maclear with illustrations by Rashin Kheiriyeh is a picture book about young refugees finding comfort and hope in the simplest of objects.

A family forced to flee to a new home includes a young girl and her little brother. They must learn to make a home as they travel. A simple object like a cup can be a boat in the imagination. A blanket becomes a sail. And hope is ever on the horizon.

This picture book is about a sad situation, but I liked the viewpoint of hope that it took.
Jen KD
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Story Boat is a touching picture book about a child’s view of the refugee experience. We can all use a reminder that when you’ve got next to nothing, you can still find hope in the little things. The author takes us on a child’s journey to imaginary places using only what is around: a teacup, blanket, flower, lamp, and thankfully a sweet story. The book focuses on the word “Here” and what that concept means when here can be anywhere when you’re on the move or displaced. The illustrations are bea ...more
This is a picture book about refugees leaving their home to try and find another through the eyes of a child. It sounds like it shouldn't work but it does. The art carries this whole book though. The words are great and have weight to them. They feel more for the adult reading to a child than for the child listening to the story. The artist seems to pour themselves into the story and try their best to depict how a child would deal with such a reality.

For families that have experienced migration
Mar 13, 2021 rated it really liked it
I picked this title up during a search for books with Canadian ties for my 4 year old and was simply blown away by how beautiful the story ended up being and how eloquently and powerfully portrayed it was. While my son wasn't quite able to absorb the full depth of the story, because of the layout, it raised important questions about the way we, as people, arrive at our homes and ways we are always there to begin with. But also why we move or are moved. It's encouraging and shocking how even kids ...more
Amber Webb
Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Kyo Maclear is one of my favorite, speak to the heart authors. He has a way to getting to the point of the story not only with words, but also with the illustrations and Story Boat was no exception. Maclear tells the story of "here" through someone who has an ever changing view of what here and home mean. It was beautiful, heart felt and emotional. This would be an excellent book to share about immigration or the refugee experience. I will find myself thinking about this book often. All classroo ...more
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sad, but hopeful story of refugees finding a new home, but for now HERE is home. Wherever they may be, every stop, every item they have or see becomes part of their story and part of their journey. So many refugees everywhere. It sometimes seems as if the world never tires of displacing it's inhabitants, by force, or otherwise. So tragic. I think this book might be useful in explaining refugees to very young children. I loved the illustrations.

I received a Kindle arc from Netgalley in exchange f
April Gray
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Lovely story, beautiful illustrations! A young girl, her little brother, their cat, and their parents have fled their country, the only home they've known. On their journey, they find comfort in small, familiar objects- a cup, a blanket, a flower, a lamp- and in stories that give them hope. They learn sometimes home is here, the place you are right now, and that this can help them carry on. This story is a good way to introduce the idea of refugees to children, and to remind adults that refugees ...more
Donna Merritt
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
This picture book is a sweet introduction to refugees, their plight and flight. "Here" keeps changing day by day, depending on where they are and the circumstances. "Here" is also represented by objects, like a cup or a blanket or a lamp, that hold the family together. The soft and gorgeous illustrations add to the poetic, comforting, hopeful text. My only quibble is that it is perhaps too comforting and doesn't reveal the terrible journey and heartbreak endured by so many. Still, it shows child ...more
Amy Aldridge
Jan 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
A picture book dealing with the refugee crisis in a wonderful way, well as wonderful as the refugee crisis can be I guess. I really enjoyed the play on the idea of the boat being a tea cup, and it really cleverly explored the power of children’s imagination which was what was getting them through this tough time. It would be interesting to draw comparisons between the children in your class, with the children in this book - a similarity would definitely be found in the use of imagination and sto ...more
Engel Dreizehn
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
ARC was bitter sweet and warm to read through because even the protagonists and their family appearance feels similar yet different to a regional can tell by their plight it is meant to represent refugees. I did like even the journey is long for the children, they still seem to find hope and warmth during this journey. I feel this narrative has a place in school + family libraries.
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Age: K-3rd grade

A hard topic dealt with such warm finesse. Through the lightness of a child's hopeful imagination, Maclear still depicts the hard challenges and downcast emotions of a group of people forced to search for a new home. The mood is complex, rightfully so, but the story's conclusion is hopeful and reassuring. The artwork is equally as balanced between a child's perseverance and the hardship's that this group of people are up against.
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Kyo Maclear is a children’s author, novelist and essayist. She was born in London, England and moved to Toronto at the age of four.

Kyo is the author of several critically-acclaimed children’s books including: Spork (2010) and Virginia Wolf (2012), both illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault; Mr. Flux (2013), illustrated by Matte Stephens; Julia, Child (2014), illustrated by Julie Morstad; The Specific

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