Foreign Settings: YASMIN’S HAMMER Review, by Ann Malaspina (Author) & Doug Chayka (Illus.)

If you like heartfelt and inspiring picture books, stories that do make a difference in this world, then Ann Malaspina is definitely an author to watch. And it’s official, I’m a fan! Where’s the Facebook page?

I loved Ann’s previous book, Finding Lincoln (Illustrator: Colin Bootman; Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company, 2009), set in the 1960s and putting the Civil Rights Movement in the spotlight. It was an emotional reading, because the difficulty for children to have access to books reminded me of situations I witnessed growing up.

Yasmin’s Hammer (Ann Malaspina; Illustrator: Doug Chayka; Publisher: Lee & Low Books, 2010). The title intrigued me. And no, I won’t give away the reason behind the author’s choice. Read the story and be surprised like I was. 🙂

Yasmin’s Hammer is the type of stories that makes me very happy. I close the book feeling inspired, my heart has been touched in a unique way and sure enough I can’t wait to share it with other people. Yasmin, the main character, is a strong and proactive little girl that rises in the midst of her difficulties. A cyclone devastated her family’s house and left her parents, her little sister and her, homeless and pretty much penniless.

The story is never preachy, yet contains lessons of perseverance, determination and generous spirit. It is beautiful to see how close and genuinely loving the family is. It is heartbreaking to know of Yasmin’s dream, a dream that we take for granted in our society.

Ann Malaspina appears to have mastered the art of writing about difficult and sensitive topics in a way that opens the four to eight year-old (and grown-up) to the history and reality of the world, while empowering him at the same time.

Yasmin’s Hammer is, in my humble opinion, a must-read for the younger generation, an opportunity to learn together a little bit about Bangladesh’s streets and food and to discuss the issue of working children, while examining what can realistically be done.

Does your library carry it?

Have a great day and happy reading! 🙂

Disclosure: I received Yasmin’s Hammer ARC from the author.