Not since reading A Monster Calls has a book moved me like A Story Like The Wind by Gill Lewis, illustrated by Jo Weaver.
This tale can, and should, be consumed in one sitting, even for the busiest of children or young teens. A Story Like The Wind features 14 year old Rami who is escaping his war torn homeland with a handful of strangers in a tiny boat on a vicious sea. Rami carries nothing but his violin. To give everyone hope through the long, turbulent night when their outboard engine has died, he plays and his music tells a story. The story is of a Mongolian boy and his untameable white stallion; a metaphor for a violence riddled country and the unbreakable spirit of its people despite all odds. This tale within a tale is truly heartwarming and heartwrenching at the same time.
A Story Like The Wind teaches children of the ever growing refugee plight in an engaging, not saccharine way and is a must for any teacher’s reading list.
The charcoal artwork by Jo Weaver not only beautifully illustrates the story, it subtly reflects it: the Dark Lord and his black stallion watermarked on the double paged spread so you feel his looming presence as you read, and the way the refugees’ faces on the boat are muted at the start then sharpened at the end to signify growing hope is exquisite.
But it is Gill Lewis and her stunning prose that steals the show, its rhythmical feel makes the whole narrative like its own Strauss concerto.
As a violinist myself, I found the ending masterful and it will stay with me every time I pick up my instrument.
A Story Like The Wind is an incredibly moving tale about freedom showing how the power of music can help, hope and heal.