Choose Love

Nicola Davies, illustrated by Petr Horacek

I once worked with a child who was a refugee from Syria. After four years of being in England, she went back to her infant classroom and told the story of her journey to the UK, to her first teacher. She spoke about Basha and his men that came with bangs and bombs, the sleeping people in the sea that her boat passed and how her mother told her to close her eyes so she couldn’t see them. She had so much to say and the stories that she’d heard in school bore little resemblance to her life in Syria and her flight from there. It took her four years to process this experience and find the words, the confidence and the right person and place to tell her story.

Choose Love is a book that should be in every school and library, it beautifully and poignantly deals with crucial issues of humanity. Our world of refugees created by climate crisis and war is described in deeply impactful poetry and illustrations of subtlety and depth. It made me think deeply about these things, and remember that finding a place to call home can take a very long time. If we always relate to people as if the worst has happened to them then we hopefully create a space that is safe for them and welcoming. This book opens a door to this process and reminds us about what we need to feel at home. I wish I could have shared it with that little girl from Syria and her family and I wish that the other children and adults that she met in those four years had been able to read and understand it too.

Published by Graffeg Limited

Reviewed by Fiona McMorrow