Shelter, Céline Claire, Qin Leng (illustrator) Kids Can Press, 2017.

Claire’s picture book is a parable for children. In the story, a storm is coming. All the animals seek shelter in their homes. Little Fox is the only character that wonders about the animals who may be stuck in the storm.

A bear parent and child are stuck in the storm. They go from home to home looking for shelter. Each family turns them away. “Try the neighbor”, they all say.

Including Little Fox’s family. Unable to accept the outcome, Little Fox runs after the bears to give them a lantern to guide their search for shelter.

As fate would have it, the snow from the storm weighs down on the foxes den, and the family barely makes it out before their den collapses. The Fox family is able to find their way to where the bears have built an igloo. The foxes knock and ask for shelter for the night. Unlike their response to the bears, the bears welcome the family in.

Originally published in France, this picture book points to the best of picture books. It is a story with a deep meaning of giving and kindness delivered in some of the best artwork by Qin Leng. Claire’s rhythmic and gentle prose begs to be read aloud, making it a great book for children ages 3-6.

A Parable for Us All

In a time when individuals advocate for walls to be built instead of bridges, this children’s book is a parable for us all.  It can easily be used in a preschool or elementary school classroom, as well as a church school setting to discuss immigration and refugees. What does it mean for those who are looking for shelter to be turned away?

The story invites comparison to the parable of the Good Samaritan. The one for whom little was done for, is the one who gives. The stranger turned away is the one who opens his door.

Shelter is a beautiful story of hospitality and welcome, a lesson for all of us.

You can purchase your own copy by clicking on the image below:

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a digital review copy.