You Are Not My Mother

A wistful picture book depicting a little refugee girl’s emotional journey. 

Aysha is on her own in a strange new place, Finland. Together with others she lives at a reception centre and goes to school. Sometimes her classmates say something silly but she can’t seem to find the words to respond and frustration takes over.

The adults around her do their best to look after and comfort her. They are friendly, they cook and eat together with Aysha, talk to her and stroke her hair. But they are not her mother, heartbroken Aysha thinks to herself as she dreams of the scent of breakfast canjeeros and longs for her life back at her home village together with her loved ones. Some days are good and some gloomy, but there is always someone to comfort her and a lap to sit on, Aysha is not alone.

This is an important and stopping story based on real events. A touching narrative by author Frank Furu combined with illustrator Linda Bondestam’s delicate colour palette. 

A wistful picture book depicting a little refugee girl’s emotional journey. 

Aysha is on her own in a strange new place, Finland. Together with others she lives at a reception centre and goes to school. Sometimes her classmates say something silly but she can’t seem to find the words to respond and frustration takes over.

The adults around her do their best to look after and comfort her. They are friendly, they cook and eat together with Aysha, talk to her and stroke her hair. But they are not her mother, heartbroken Aysha thinks to herself as she dreams of the scent of breakfast canjeeros and longs for her life back at her home village together with her loved ones. Some days are good and some gloomy, but there is always someone to comfort her and a lap to sit on, Aysha is not alone.

This is an important and stopping story based on real events. A touching narrative by author Frank Furu combined with illustrator Linda Bondestam’s delicate colour palette. 

info

  • Year of publication

    2021

  • Original title

    Ni är inte min mamma

  • Page count

    32

  • Original publisher

    Förlaget M

  • Original language of publication

    Swedish

Reviews

  • Runeberg Junior Prize jury 2022

    “You Are Not my Mother “(Ni är inte min mamma) written by Frank Furu and illustrated by Linda Bondestam is a beautiful and moving story about an unaccompanied refugee child. It is the child itself that tells the story of how it feels to be different and how it is to lack knowledge of the language you are supposed to express yourself with. The illustrator strongly depicts the child’s feelings in the pictures: anger is a roaring panther and loneliness is pitch black. And the dream of Mother is beautifully sand colored. The illustrations invite us to step into a small person’s life, alone in a new and foreign country. The book’s short and melancholic text, together with the illustrations, creates a strong emotional experience for both the reader and the listener."

  • Lastenkirjahylly

    "Frank Furu's and Linda Bondestam's picture book is a real children's cultural act in terms of its subject matter. But it is also special because if it's intense illustrations and scarce, but perhaps precisely for that reason, extremely expressive text. In addition to explaining how refugee children feel, the way the picture book describes the feelings of being excluded is familiar to all children."

Awards & Nominations

Nominations

  • Runeberg Junior Prize

    2022

Authors