Hemingway poetically wrote that "Paris is a moveable feast." And the events of the last few days have certainly borne that out. The connection that so many feel to Paris, its beauty, its vibrancy, its culture and its life, have added to the distress we feel as its tragedy unfolds.
And yet – there is tremendous power and hope in the resilience and fortitude of the Parisians, the French, and the people of the world generally. We’ve seen that sort of fortitude before in places like New York, Tokyo, Christchurch and many more*. And we’re seeing it now in France, Lebanon and Iraq*.
For children – and for all of us – there is comfort in remembering what is good and bright and lovely. There’s certainly plenty of all of that in Paris and there is no doubt that the good will outweigh and overcome evil.
For now, it's nice to spend a little time reading something beautiful to a child – to shore up the child and to remind ourselves of all the light that is still in Paris. There is promise in remembering and hope in imagining.
So here's a collection of 8 picture books about Paris and France that help us to remember. And to imagine the light returning quickly.
1. MADELINE – a multi-generational childhood classic. I like the original best of all, but everyone has a favourite from among the many Madeline stories.
2. A LION IN PARIS – a poignant look at what it is to be a stranger with the sights of Paris playing a starring role.
3. ANATOLE – because what could be more French than a cheese critiquing beret wearing mouse?
4. MADAME MARTINE – a wonderful reminder to look for the beauty that surrounds us.
6. I, CROCODILE – a funny story about a crocodile brought to Paris by Napolean himself. The croc certainly knows how to make the best of a situation!
7. THIS IS PARIS – a grand tour of Paris, 60’s style!
8. ADELE & SIMON – a delightful story set in Paris – beautiful illustrations and completely appealing.
* and in so many more places throughout the world - Russia, China, Syria, Egypt, Ukraine, Tunisia - and on and on the list goes.