This powerful wordless picturebook is another example of a text dealing directly with the theme of the migrant crisis. Although this picturebook is ultimately tragic, the tragedy is handled indirectly through the use of a powerful metaphor. This creates a great way for young people to think about using symbols in visual storytelling to express meaning and the direction of a narrative. A black boy in an unnamed country flees persecution with his peers. He races across the desert and joins a caravan loaded with people and bound for the sea. They are able to board a boat, and the final double-spread in his journey depicts the group of men traveling in the darkness, looking powerless and afraid. The scene changes; a white boy, presumably on an Italian shore, strolls along a beach. He sees a shell, and as he picks it up, we see the hand of the other boy reaching out for it at the same time. Yet in the next image, that boy is nowhere to be seen. The white boy holds the seashell to his ear, perturbed. What does he hear? What does this ambiguous symbol mean?
This work can be used alongside other examples in the selection: The Mediterranean [Mediterraneo] and Migrating [Migrando]. In particular, children may wish to discuss the ethics of the clear divide between black and white skin colours represented in this text. A more positive, optimistic depiction of the migrant crisis is available in We had to Leave [Meidän piti lähteä] while the German/Czech film Speechless provides a filmic equivalent to this important area of European and global identity