Unlocked: Stories of Hope from Tiny Owl Artists in Lockdown

Unlocked is a beautiful picture book so full of hope and kindness. A reflection on the last year that notices the best of it, the nurturing of people and of things. It is simply perfect for now and for sharing and encouraging children as we move out of lockdown.

Cover illustration by Anna Doherty

This is a truly unique picture book. Tiny Owl publishers asked their illustrators to reflect on the past year and how they have coped with lockdown; how they spent their time, what helped and most importantly what gave them hope and inspiration. This is a gorgeous selection of words and pictures from fifteen artists from all around the world capturing the global nature of the pandemic experience. Each illustrator showcases their individual styles yet they blend together in perfect harmony in this collaborative collection celebrating humanity and resilience.

The cover is wonderful. A building in which the businesses on the ground floor are closed and yet above them, in homes, life goes on with people playing, reading, cooking, exercising and growing plants, whilst outside people are wearing the obligatory masks. The endpapers feature vignettes depicting the many different ways people passed their time during the period of lockdown, a variety of ages and types but they highlight nurturing, creativity and kindness setting the tone, as does the cover, for the rest of the book.

Endpapers illustration by Sarah van Dongen

Turning the pages we read words and look at pictures from many countries including the UK, the Netherlands, and Italy from Canada, Iran and South Africa. The global nature of the contents and the diverse voices are woven together in a way that highlights how much we have in common with each other. There are connections everywhere; the similarities in the human response to our predicament are visible. There is humour, there is a slowing down to notice things, to listen more, to create and to nurture and to find a way to communicate with those from whom we are separated. All of this is conveyed eloquently and in a manner that will gently encourage and inspire children who read this lovely book .

I particularly like the concentration on positivity and kindness. The different artists have done a simply wonderful job of highlighting optimism, community and hope. We all need hope in difficult times and this book is simply brimming with it. Unlocked is a treat to savour, to linger over and to think about and to reflect upon. A beautiful book that you feel better for having read.

I should like to thank Tiny Owl Publishing for sending me my copy, I will treasure it.

The publishers have created a lovely trailer for Unlocked which you may like to watch:

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5 Responses to Unlocked: Stories of Hope from Tiny Owl Artists in Lockdown

  1. This book sounds quite wonderful Anne. It is so good to be reminded of all the incredible moments of kindness that have illuminated this past year.


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