Escape: One Day We Had to Run by Ming & Wah, illustrations by Carmen Vela

Escape: One Day We Had to Run by Ming & Wah, illustrations by Carmen Vela. Lantana Publishing, 9781911373810, 2021

Format: Hardcover

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5+

 What did you like about the book? This is such an informative,  interesting, and inspirational book all wrapped in one beautifully illustrated package. This book features 12 different personal stories of people or groups of people who were forced to flee their home or country in order to have a better life for themselves and their family. The stories span the globe including Eritrea, Cuba, China, and Mexico. One story includes two sisters who were fleeing from Syria and were forced to swim to guide a small boat filled with people to safety. Many years later, one of them competed in the Rio Summer Olympic Games as a swimmer. Another story includes a Chinese diplomat living in Austria who was able to provide visas for over 18,000 Jewish families fleeing the German Gestapo. And another story that will appeal to many children is the story of Curious George creators Hans and Margret Rey and their four-day bike ride from Paris to Portugal fleeing the Nazi invasion. The artwork and manuscripts for Curious George were tucked under the arm of Hans Rey. There is also the story of the Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman. Each story in this book has a unique title that provides a clue as to how the escape was successful–these include “Cling”, “Disguise”, “Sprint”, “Raft”, and “Tunnel”.

The illustrations provided by Carmen Vela are gorgeous and every single picture provides a feeling of movement from a place of danger and conflict to a place of peace and safety. Vela uses some interesting techniques such as darker colors of illustrations with sharper edges to show a negative environment and contribute to the feeling of urgency these people must have felt in their situations. 

Anything you did not like about the book. Nothing

To whom would you recommend this book? This book is perfect for children between the ages of six and nine years old. Even though the stories feature areas of negative conflict, they are presented in a way that would educate, rather than scare, children.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, anyone who works with children between the ages of six and nine years old. Great for a social studies classroom.

Where would you shelve it? Nonfiction

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!

Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: March 29, 2021

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