This post was originally written for Pen and Fable
Mina is so excited – she’s finally getting her own room! She wants a new room more than anything in the whole world.
But before she can move in, Mina’s parents have some news. Someone is coming to live with them for a while. And that person will need Mina’s room.
Mina is heartbroken. Her parents have broken a promise! Especially when Azzami, the boy who has come to live with them, spends all his time in her room but doesn’t seem to enjoy it.
Mina and the Whole Wide World by Sherryl Clark is a powerful verse novel about loss, bullying and the power of friendship. It explores topics that younger children may not yet have been introduced to, but in a gentle, easy to understand way.
Azzami is a refugee from Afghanistan. His father has passed away, and his mother is in hospital. He has no family and is scarred from his childhood experiences.
Mina is blinded by her disappointment and can’t understand why Azzami won’t speak – not to her family nor to the other kids at school. But through his drawings, Azzami begins to tell his story, and Mina starts to understand the power of empathy and friendship. There is room for sharing and everyone in the whole wide world.
With beautiful illustrations by Briony Stewart, Mina and the Whole Wide World is a provocative novel in verse for early readers. It is a brilliant conversation starter for parents to discuss attitudes towards refugees in Australia.