January 18, 2018


Walk With Me by Jairo Buitrago and Rafael Yockteng is the story of a young girl who is leaving school for the day and conjures up an imaginary lion to walk home with her.

It seems like a simple concept for a book, but the depth and range of emotion readers will experience after encountering this book is intense. The text is minimal, offering brief moments of optimism and joy despite evidence to the contrary, but the pencil illustrations offer over half of the narrative, with further information on the young girl's rough day-to-day life. As the girl leaves primary school, picks up her young brother from daycare, shops for food where her family has been cut off for credit, and goes home to cook dinner, readers get a n unabashed tour of an impoverished town. We see poor people begging on the sidewalks, car accidents happening mere feet away, and buildings rotting slowly over the course of time. With all of these impending dangers and demanding responsibilities, it's no wonder the young girl creates an imaginary lion to help her feel courageous and strong as she fulfills her duties. And though people are yawning everywhere in this book, the girl never once shows any signs of weariness. She is a force to be reckoned with, for sure. 

Walk With Me published from Groundwood Books last year.

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