A Year Without Mom by Dasha Tolstikova (Groundwood Books)

12809621_10153863479105446_4650262566313751541_nAn emotive-filled read, sympathetically illustrated by extraordinary talent, Dasha Tolstikova that you will undoubtedly want to re-visit again and again.

In this transient mix of picture book meets graphic novel, ‘A Year With Mom‘ is so beautifully executed and poignantly written. Dasha Tolstikova is most definitely one to look out for.

12790962_10153863479170446_7349944185850012735_nA moving, gut-wrenching tale of love and separation in the early 90s. A young Dasha is forced to live without her grandparents, as her mother ventures to America in search of a better life for them all.

We follow Dasha on the year that unfurls following her mother’s departure.

At the tender age of just twelve, Dasha is left in Russia to deal with adolescence surrounded by friends but seemingly alone.

12813931_10153863479135446_3794803994373385880_nNegotiating the challenges of school, friendship and family without her matriarch poses its own problems.

To support the dramatic narrative in this book, come graphic novel, is an almost completely monochromatic palette, with the exception of splashes of varying shades of red and blue.

Strong imagery scattered amongst sparsely populated pages, prominent hand lettering and quirky composition make for a truly engaging12804633_10153863479160446_845854326354824186_n reading experience.

Just as Dasha begins to find her place and feel settled once again, she learns that she is to join her mother in America. Much to her chagrin, calls are made, bags are packed and before she knows it, is on an early-morning flight en-route to America.

There begins a whole new adventure…


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