Children’s Book Week Review – Anisa’s Alphabet

Link to Catalogue record for Anisa’s Alphabet

Anisa’s Alphabet by Mike Dumbleton and Hannah Sommerville

This book was part of the Notable list for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year Awards – Picture Book of the Year.

For many refugees the alphabet represents the start of a new language and a new future, but Anisa’s Alphabet is different. A poignant and highly imaginative telling of one girl’s story which will appeal to children and adults alike… Come with Anisa, and see things through her eyes.

This book is a story of hope and dreaming while struggling and not giving up. It’s showing all of the hardship for the main character, a refugee. It’s a very simple alphabet but it’s a very complicated story. 

What I think is great is it’s for older kids. Little kids will probably just look at the pictures and letters but the story is a struggle for the main character and that’s aimed at older children. For an alphabet book it carries a story through the book. 

The pictures speak a lot more than the words – they explain the whole story. 

The illustrations are watercolour paintings which feels very connected, it feels real and does justice to the story. The endpapers connect to the story by showing the refugee’s limited resources. It’s very touching to see. 

The book lets you introduce this topic and gives you a place to start talking about the topic of refugees. 

I would read this with all ages, I read it with my teenager son and we used it to start a talk. You could read a long novel and cover the topics that have been condensed into the picture book.