A Sky-Blue Bench
Bahram Rahman, illustrated by Peggy Collins
Just as Aria feared, sitting on the floor is so uncomfortable that she can't think about learning at all. She knows that before the war changed many things in Afghanistan, schools like hers had benches for students to sit at. If she had a bench, her leg would not hurt so much. The answer is obvious: she will gather materials, talk to Kaka Najar, the carpenter in the old city, and learn to build a bench for herself.
In A Sky-Blue Bench, Bahram Rahman, author of The Library Bus, returns again to the setting of his homeland, Afghanistan, to reveal the resilience and resolve of young children — especially young girls — who face barriers to education. Illustrator Peggy Collins imbues Aria with an infectious spunkiness and grit that make her relatable even to readers with a very different school experience. An author's note gently introduces an age-appropriate discussion of landmines and their impact on the lives of children in many nations, especially Afghanistan, which has the highest concentration of landmines of any country in the world.
Bahram Rahman is an Ontario-based author and activist who was born in Kabul and grew up during the civil war and the Taliban regime. Rahman came to Canada as a refugee in 2012 and The Library Bus, is his debut picture book.
Peggy Collins is a graphic designer and children's book author-illustrator with more than 35 titles to her name, including Hungry for Math and In the Snow.