Lubna and Pebble

by Wendy Meddour (Author) Daniel Egnéus (Illustrator)

Lubna and Pebble
Reading Level: K − 1st Grade

In an unforgettable story that subtly addresses the refugee crisis, a young girl must decide if friendship means giving up the one item that gives her comfort during a time of utter uncertainty.

Lubna's best friend is a pebble. Pebble always listens to her stories. Pebble always smiles when she feels scared. But when a lost little boy arrives in the World of Tents, Lubna realizes that he needs Pebble even more than she does.

This emotionally stirring and stunningly illustrated picture book explores one girl's powerful act of friendship in the midst of an unknown situation.

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Publishers Weekly

Lubna and her father have come ashore in a new country, where they're housed in a tent city. Lubna's best friend is a pebble she picked up on the beach, "shiny and smooth and gray," made cheerier by the happy face she draws on it with a marker: "Lubna told Pebble everything. About her brothers. About home. About the war." After a small boy named Amir arrives, Lubna and Pebble befriend him. Then Lubna's father announces that they're leaving for a new home, and Amir despairs. Following a sleepless night, the girl knows what she must to do to comfort him. Spacious, soaring spreads by Egnéus (Raven Child and the Snow-Witch) add flashes of imaginative escape to the poignant story by Meddour (The Glump and the Peeble). He shows the action from Lubna's point of view, rendering interactions between her and Pebble in intimate close-ups, while Lubna's father and other adults tower protectively above them. In a particularly inventive touch, Amir's shadow appears as a pomegranate tree; when he receives Lubna's gift, it bursts into color in a magical expression of gratitude. The story addresses a difficult subject but stays focused on hope. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

PreS-Gr 2--Lubna's best friend is a shiny and smooth gray pebble. It was the first thing she found when she and her father arrived in their new country, just before they landed in the World of Tents. As she navigates this new world, Lubna knows with certainty that her daddy and Pebble will keep her safe. Pebble smiles up at Lubna and always listens when she tells stories of home, her brothers, and the war. Pebble brings Lubna comfort when everything else is uncertain. When a young boy named Amir arrives at the tent village, Pebble acts as a bridge between the two children, and they soon become close friends. Shortly after, when Lubna and her father have found a new home, Lubna must leave her new friend behind, and she realizes that Amir may need the pebble and the comfort it brings even more than she does. This tale begins and ends with stunning illustrations full of emotion. This heartrending and beautiful picture book explores the long, hard journey that displaced families endure and also reminds us of the power of friendship, especially in the face of uncertainty. VERDICT A truly important story about the refugee crisis and the power of friendship. Highly recommended.--Elizabeth Blake, Brooklyn Public Library

Copyright 2019 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"A timely story of displacement, loss, friendship and kindness—universal messages with timeless appeal."—Booklist, starred review

"The larger-than-life, almost dreamy illustrations show readers what Lubna sees and feels, and the rawness of both text and images penetrates the heart. . . . A true celebration of the endless creativity and resilience of children."—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Spacious, soaring spreads by Egnéus add flashes of imaginative escape to the poignant story by Meddour. . . . The story addresses a difficult subject but stays focused on hope."—Publishers Weekly

"Meddour's short, simple sentences pack an emotional punch. . . . This tender, understated story honors the emotional resilience of young people."—Horn Book

"A truly important story about the refugee crisis and the power of friendship. Highly recommended."—School Library Journal

Wendy Meddour
Wendy Meddour's debut children's book, A Hen in the Wardrobe, was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award for Outstanding First Novel. Wendy is also the author of the Wendy Quill series, which have been translated into over 10 languages. She lives in England.

Daniel Egneus is a Swedish artist who recently illustrated Neil Gaiman's American Gods Quartet as well as the picture books Raven Child and the Snow Witch and The Thing. Daniel lives in Athens, Greece.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Dial Books
Publication date
March 05, 2019
BISAC categories
JUV039060 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Friendship
JUV039250 - Juvenile Fiction | Social Themes | Emigration & Immigration
JUV030110 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | Middle East
Library of Congress categories
Picture books
Refugee children
Fear in children
Immigrant children
Empathy in children

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