Paper Boat, Paper Bird

Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books

On a visit to Japan, Mina and her mum explore Kyoto, where they marvel at the skyscrapers, temples, sushi bars and flower sellers. Mina finds Japanese culture exhilarating and is mesmerised when she sees a woman making delicate, origami objects. The kindly stranger gives Mina the beautifully-crafted models, along with some paper to make her own. Delighted, Mina carefully folds the paper to create a boat and a bird. She writes messages of friendship on the models and releases them into the world, where they find their way to a young boy, Miyako. There are hints that both children are dealing with the loss of a parent, and the origami objects poignantly connect them, even though they don’t meet in person.

The poetic language and unhurried pace of this slim novel invites readers to immerse themselves in the tale. Each page features distinctive black-and-white illustrations, punctuated with shades of red, which provide a striking visual accompaniment to the contemplative text. Mina first made an appearance in David Almond’s award-winning debut novel Skellig, and again in its prequel, My Name is Mina. This enchanting story, which celebrates the wonders of travel, is perfect to introduce her to a new, younger audience.

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