Mirror is a fascinating picture book from one of my favourite author/illustrators, Jeannie Baker. I stumbled upon Baker’s work quite by accident. Whilst teaching in a primary school I came across Baker’s book ‘Window’ and it quickly became of my favourite wordless picture books and is well worth seeking out. Mirror is another brilliant piece of creative story telling through the use of pictures. Despite how far apart cultures in the East and West might seem, Baker helps the reader to understand that we are perhaps much more connected than we may think…
Mirror tells the story of two families, one in Australia and one in Morocco. There is a lovely introduction to the story that is written in both English and Arabic. Presented over eight (and a half), full-colour double page spreads the story compares the daily lives of the two families. Baker has a fascinating way of constructing her illustrations - I won’t spoil the surprise but you can find out for yourself in the author’s notes.
The illustrations are detailed and children could spend hours poring over them and making observations of similarities and differences between the lives of the two families - which is really what this book is all about. It is a celebration of the uniqueness of two different countries and their peoples but also helping children to understand how similar we all are.
I have travelled to many countries and love learning about different cultures and how people from different places go about their day. What I have seen first-hand and what this book helps the reader to understand is that although all countries and people are unique, we have so much in common.
It is well worth taking the time to read the author's notes at the back of the book. Baker was inspired to write ‘Mirror’ after travelling overseas. Our views and opinions of countries and people are often formed by what see and read - most likely in the news. This can often lead to misguided impressions and inaccurate perceptions. My travel experiences range from European countries to the USA, Russia to China, Mongolia to India, and many other fabulous places. What I have learnt is this, that it is often the people with the very least that are the ones that offer the warmest welcomes and want to give you the most.
Go visit countries and engage with the people who inhabit them. The world is a wonderful place and deserves to be explored.
Recommended for 6+.