Maisie’s scrapbook is a gentle but inspiring story about a girl who is brought up by parents from two different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. In many respects it is a simple story, about the little things in life. From playing hide and seek with her mum to watching the stars and the sunset with her dad. Her two parents, nurture, play and chat to their daughter, helping her blend two cultures and become her own person. It is cleverly linked to the passing of the seasons, which gives lots of emotion and atmosphere. The colourful collage like illustrations by Jo Loring-Fisher are wonderful and really bring the tale to life. The fact that the story progresses over different seasons has enabled the illustrator to make good use of a range of warm and bright colours, which add so much more to the story’s message. It is quite a tricky story to review as the subtle interplay between the words and the text give it it’s own special magic.
It is great to see a mixed race family doing ordinary things together. It is also a celebration of a parents love for their child, and how both parents and their child often ‘grow’ together in their understanding of themselves and their place in the world. This is a story that will resonate across cultures and with all sorts of families. There are also some wider messages. These includes celebrating differences, whilst also recognising that people can be different but work towards the same goal in a mutually supportive way, in this case bringing up their own child. It would make a heart-warming addition to any home or school library, and I would highly recommend it for any child or parent.
I also wanted to see what a mixed race family made of this story. So I leant it to a mum called Emily. She is white and her husband is from Jamaica (where he was born and raised), they have a mixed-race toddler.
“Maisie’s Scrapbook is a refreshing read for the young and old. Maisie’s parents have grown up in very different cultures, this story highlights some of the cultural contrasts faced by mixed race partnerships. Although Maisie is adventurous; she’s grounded by the love of her parents. They have different cultural references and they use different words to describe the same thing, ‘Mama says tomato. Dada says aamo’, but they love and nag her in the same way. “
“I enjoyed the way the author portrays the differences between the parents through the eyes of Maisie and how each parent contributes to raising her to be herself. The illustrations are beautiful and compliment the story well. Hopefully more stories like Maisie’s will help a generation of mixed children feel more visible.”