Tomorrow by Mark Macleod. Illus. by Kirrily Schell
Did you watch the six o'clock news last week? There were stories and pictures of people ravaged by a cyclone in Burma and rescued from an earthquake in China. There was a policeman shot, a motorcyclist killed and a young lady who did not know CFCs were banned 20 years ago, crowned as the Australian entrant for the Miss Universe pageant. For most of us, the news will remain just what it was - a regular bulletin of the events of the world in the last 24 hours. Few, unless they are personally involved, will give many of the items a second thought and we will move on to tomorrow after a good night's sleep.
But what of our children who saw the same news? To them, the images can be very confronting and powerful and they don't yet have the experience and maturity to let them go, or to see them in their historical or geographical context. They linger on, forming fears, causing nightmares and starting what-ifs. There are many stories of children afraid to go to their own school because they have seen images of a school massacre on the news, or who won't fly in a plane after seeing the footage of an aircraft crash.
Mark Macleod wrote Tomorrow to counteract the world of gloom and doom that our children can see every evening. He wanted them to know that the world will keep spinning, the sun will keep rising, the birds will keep singing and the plants will keep growing despite all these horrific events.
And so we have what appears to be a simple story with simple line drawings about a child going to sleep at night after sharing a bedtime story, and waking in the morning and getting all the way through the next day with none of those terrible fears eventuating. But it is not just a story for the next day, it is a story for life - of hope and affirmation and inspiration that each of us will be strong enough to survive whatever might befall us. "Tomorrow" becomes "today" and even "yesterday" without our scarcely realising it.
This is a book that deserves a place on library shelves. Parents can share it with their little ones in the comfort and security of the bedtime story, and the astute teacher can use it to begin a conversation about fears and how we can confront them - "Turn, look them in the eye and say you're off to find tomorrow."
Original review Sat 17/05/2008
Themes: Fear, Play, Life.