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Three Balls of Wool Can Change the World
Enchanted Lion Books / Publishers Group Canada (in partnership with Amnesty International)
By Henriqueta Cristina, illustrated by Yara Kono
32 pages
age 5 to 8

Synopsis from Publishers Group Canada:

In search of a freer place where every child can go to school, a family moves from Fascist Portugal to Communist Czechoslovakia. Different as this new country is, however, it is far from ideal. In this new, gray world, the lack of freedom is felt in the simplest things, such as the colors one can and cannot wear.

We often take for granted the rights and freedoms we enjoy. Three Balls of Wool is a reminder of how important it is for everyone to enjoy these same rights. Told from a young girl’s perspective, she sees the concern on her parents’ faces; their worry about the life available for the family. So they leave, sneak away leaving everything behind, looking for something better.

The story is based on a timeframe before our kids were born but the desire to live safe and free is something people still seek today. The mother’s simple act is also brave. Though her refusal to confirm only seems to have a positive impact within the story (with other villages taking up their knitting needles), in reality even simple acts can lead to devastating outcomes like imprisonment or death. The parents’ desire for a better future pushes them to take action, from leaving their homeland to breaking from state sanctioned conformity.

The story is a great discussion point around freedoms, what we take for granted and how we can impact change close to home or around the world. The addition on the creation of Amnesty International, based on one lawyer’s outrage over two men imprisoned for wanting freedom, is a great introduction to the international society. Three Balls of Wool Can Change the World is a perfect book to start of the New Year, thinking about change and what we can do to make the world a better place for everyone, not just a lucky few.

You can get an inside peek at this book in the following video review, published within our Picture Book playlist:

Additional Reading: Louis I King of the Sheep.

You can find a copy of Three Balls of Wool Can Change the World from Publishers Group Canada or your local bookstore. Visit our Kid’s Books section for other great book recommendations.

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