Ships in the Field is Susanne Gervay and Anna Pignataro’s beautiful new picture book about a little girl whose dearest wish is to have a dog. But it’s not just about a dog. This dog symbolises hope, peace and security.
Ships in the Field is a story of many layers and Anna Pignataro’s illustrations are a perfect compliment for the text, and add so much to this poignant story. Her centre page spread of the refugees filing onto the boat that will take them to safety is a moving illustration that needs no words.
Just like many refugees, the little girl in this story has no name, no identity in her new country.
Underlying the little girl’s dream of having her own dog is the story of refugees; of what it’s like to find yourself in a new land, having survived the ravages of war and left your home behind.
Award-winning author, Susanne Gervay and award-winning illustrator, Anna Pignataro are part of that immigrant and refugee story.
Susanne’s parents were post-war Hungarian refugees who migrated to Australia and Anna’s parents were post-war Italian refugees facing the same kind of displacement.
So it’s not surprising that this book is so authentic in its joy and sadness.
You’ll have to read this amazing story for yourself. I’m not going to tell you why this book is called Ships in the Field, but it’s the perfect title.
The text is heartwarming and full of hope and Anna Pignataro’s evocative watercolours will make you feel as if you are reading this story from inside the book. Look for the little details that tell a big story.
I loved the strength of the relationships in Ships in the Field, and the hope and love woven through this story.
This is a brave and important book with a strong message told in a gentle and thought provoking way.
Ships in the Field is for readers 7+ and is published by Ford Street Publishing.