The Blue Butterfly of Cochin

Kalaniot Bks. Mar. 2024. 32p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9798986396569. .
K-Gr 3–Leah and her family are emigrating from their Cochin community in India to Moshav Nevatim, Israel, in this historical picture book about storytelling and the meaning of home. Leah loves her synagogue and sharing stories with children, while butterflies fly around her. She whispers of her sadness and excitement to one as they’re moving to Israel, and the butterfly lets her know, “Cochin will always be with you, in your heart and in your stories.” Full-bleed spreads show bold colors throughout, and each scene is a showstopper. A single tear rolls down Leah’s cheek while the blue butterfly sparkles on her shoulder, blue billows surrounding the outskirts as her home is off-center right, with a detailed Shabbat lamp and mezuzah in the foreground. Leah and her family arrive safely to their new home and she discovers that despite its many differences, she will thrive because Cochin is in her stories. The uneven graphic design of text to art creates an unfortunate tightness to the story that is at odds with its message of infinite possibilities within. Written with the Jewish Indian Heritage Center and the Cochin Heritage Center, the back matter includes a history of “The Jews of Cochin” and glossary.
VERDICT An excellent purchase for all libraries.

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