In a new children’s picture book, HOPE and FRECKLES, Fleeing to a Better Forest, published in 2020 by Mascot Books, author Bill Kiley writes about a white-tailed mother deer named Hope, and her fawn, Freckles, who journey from their dangerous home of Olden Forest, to the safety of Big Pine Forest.
While the tale relies heavily on the plight of today’s refugees and asylum seekers fleeing to the United States of America (trauma and conditions that most American-born children and adults will never experience), the illustrations’ likable characters throughout the twenty-seven pages by artist Mary Manning, soften an underlying theme: Scary governments exist in many of today’s third-world nations. Parents and educators may want to read the book for themselves before introducing this kind of plot to children, due to their individual personalities.
HOPE and FRECKLES, Fleeing to a Better Forest, planned as a book series, carves a genre that seems to be one-of-a-kind, a sort of “Political and Educational Children’s Picture Book”, validated as such with its postface page of “Useful Definitions for Young Readers”, “Resources for Parents and Educators”, and “Questions for Discussions”. Mr. Kiley’s professionalism, awards, and peace-making career in the USA and abroad, pour authenticity into this book, one that imparts a sense of strong family bonds, bravery, and HOPE.