“Her mother had died when Siobhán was only three.” In this quiet story set in Dublin, a girl is left with a father so sad he never speaks to her about her mother. By the time she is 10, Siobhán can no longer remember her mother’s face; it’s an “empty space” that causes painful unhappiness. One day, Siobhán meets a beautiful woman who recognizes the girl’s sadness and listens to her story. The woman tells her to look in the mirror to find her mother’s face and whispers a message for Siobhán’s father. Siobhán keeps looking in the mirror, and as an adult, her reflection is that of the woman she met in the park. This would not seem to be a book for every child, though it is certainly a tender tale for those who have lost a parent. Yet Blackwood’s wonderful watercolor-and-charcoal art, reminiscent of Patricia Polacco’s pictures, has a lightness that, while not diminishing the story’s heartbreaking core, adds a hopeful, soothing dimension. Life goes on, the book informs readers, and so can individuals. Grades K-3. --Ilene Cooper
About the Author
Born in Dublin, Ireland in 1958, Roddy Doyle has become one of the most renown and celebrated Irish authors of the late twentieth century. Doyl received his Bachelor of Arts from St. Finian’s Christian Brothers School in Sutton and went on to University College, Dublin. Upon the completion of his education, Roddy Doyle worked as a Geography and English teacher in Kilbarrack, North Dublin.
Roddy Doyle’s adult novel, Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha, a story about a ten-year old boy living Ireland, won Doyle the Booker Prize, the United Kingdom’s greatest literary honor.
Roddy Doyle lives in Ireland with his wife, Belinda and their two children.
Scotland native Freya Blackwood grew up and currently lives in Orange, NSW, about three and a half hours west of Sydney (Australia). Creativity is in her blood. Her mother, Kay, is a painter and jeweler, and her father, John, is an architect. As her grandfather was also a painter, there was ample influence and encouragement in artistic pursuits as she grew up.