It's quieter than it's ever been. Unable to sleep, a young boy climbs into his father's arms. Feeling the warmth and closeness of his father, he begins to ask questions about the birds, the foxes, and whether his mom will ever wake up. They go outside under the starry sky. Loss and love are as present as the white spruces, while the father's clear answers and assurances calm his worried son. Here we feel the cycles of life and life's continuity, even in the face of absence and loss, so strongly and clearly that we know at the end that everything will, somehow, be all right.
Born in 1953, Stein Erik Lunde has written sixteen books, mostly for children and young adults. His books have been published in many countries. This is his first book to be published in the United States. He also writes lyrics and has translated Bob Dylan into Norwegian. In 2009 My Father's Arms Are A Boat was awarded the Norwegian Ministry's Culture Prize for the Best Book for Children and Youth. The book was also nominated for the 2011 German Children's Literature Award.
Born in 1972, Øyvind Torseter is an artist and one of Norway's most acclaimed illustrators. He employs both traditional and digital picture techniques. Torseter has received numerous prizes for many of his books. In 2011 he received the Norwegian Book Art Prize. For 2012 he has been nominated for the ALMA Award and the Hans Christian Andersen Award.
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, Kari Dickson grew up bilingually, as her mother is Norwegian and her grandparents could not speak English. She holds a B.A. in Scandinavian studies and an M.A. in translation.
2014 Mildred L. Batchelder Honor Book
Brain Pickings' Best Children's, Illustrated, and Picture Books of 2013
"A young boy, grieving and unable to sleep, climbs into his father’s steady arms to find warmth and reassurance in this luminous story about loss, love and healing. [...] A breathtaking masterpiece." -- STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews
"The quiet, intimate text and enigmatic paper-collage and ink illustrations make a world of their own that commends interest beyond the therapeutic." -- STARRED REVIEW, The Horn Book
"This distinctive look at life, death, and grief is beautiful and thought-provoking." -- School Library Journal
"Stunning in its writing and illustration, this is a picture book that is noteworthy and memorable." -- Waking Brain Cells
"The striking, paper-cut-out illustrations add an unforgettable touch to this poignant tale of love, loss and comfort. Highly recommended." -- Midwest Book Review
"[Lunde's] writing is lovely in its spareness, but also hard edged, even in the story's many moments of tenderness. ("We look straight into each other's eyes. His eyes, black as night, are dark and deep in his face.") Pain is never far from the surface, yet when the boy's father assures him, "Everything will be all right," in the final scene, readers will believe him." -- Publishers Weekly