2021 - Shortlisted
Winter of the White Bear is a powerful picture book for older readers. In it, Little Bear’s father is killed, and she is taken captive by White Bear and forced to work for him. Pushed beyond the brink, Little Bear must dig deep to find the courage to defeat White Bear and make the long journey home. The stark background landscapes and splashes of red representing the spilling of blood serve to magnify the enormity of the tragedy that befalls Little Bear, as well as her vulnerability.
The fable-like quality of the story is clearly evident as it represents the centuries-old struggle slaves have faced at the hands of their oppressors. Told in simple yet compelling terms, every page brims with tension, danger and emotion. This is a tale about the injustice of slavery, simplified, symbolised, and solidified in a heart-stopping narrative of loss, survival, courage and redemption.