Monday, March 25, 2013

The Matchbox Diary

The Matchbox Diary
by Paul Fleischman
illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2013
unpaged picture book
 
A small girl visits her great-grandfather for the first time. She is carefully inspecting the various possessions that fill his home when he invites her to pick whatever she likes most and he will tell her its story. She chooses a box full of matchboxes and the storytelling begins. As a child her great-grandfather had wished to keep a diary to remember the important things from his life. However, he couldn't read or write so he began his matchbox diary, filling each little box with a tiny treasure. The matchboxes told of poverty in Italy while his father was away working in America. Other boxes revealed tales of his own immigration and the family's struggle to find work in their new home. As box after box is opened stories are shared and a bond is formed between the two despite the generation gap. The story is sweet and the illustrations are gorgeous and full of feeling.

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