Walk With Me by Jairo Buitrago; illustrated by Rafael Yockteng. English translation–2017(originally printed in 2008). Pencil, scanned and redrawn/colored digitally. Published by Groundwood Books.
Brief summary: A girl requests a lion to keep her company while she walks through the city on her way home from school to pick her brother up from daycare and to the store where she buys food that she will make for dinner to be ready when her mother returns from working in a factory. The lion leaves to go back up in the hills at bedtime when all three sleep in the same bed next to a photo of the family minus the father.
Comments: This book’s illustrations tell so much of the story. We wonder what happened to the father in the photo shown at the end. He has a lot of yellow hair that looks similar to the lion’s mane. Is she imagining the lion as her father? This little girl must take on responsibilities beyond her age and maneuver through a busy and poor area of the city.
To help her mentally get through all of this, she imagines the lion walking with her. The store won’t give them any more credit. The lion is roaring in the background as the little brother crawls on the store’s floor. We see that the family is living in poverty by the cracks and deteriorating buildings. I want to know more about this story. What happened to the father?
Although this is a sad story, it is a necessary one that should be shared in order to remind us what some children go though once they leave school. We are reminded why they are unable to get their homework finished. No play dates. No soccer practice. They are too busy just getting by each day.