I prefer gentle bedtime stories for my kids. Some of the traditional fairy tales are dark. Before I know it one of the kids is having bad dream about a wolf eating them. I also like reading books that features siblings. Sleep well, Siba and Saba written by Ugandan author Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl and illustrated by French/Australian author Sandra van Doorn ticks all the boxes. It doesn’t matter to me that the sibling are girls. I think a good story transcends gender. Sleep well, Siba and Saba is a captivating magical story about sibling love and the power of dreams.
Sleep Well, Siba and Saba is about two forgetful sisters who are keep losing their possessions from sweaters, to slippers to shawl. They never lose each other, though. The magical thing is that in their nigh time dreams, they would they dream about the things they lost that day. ‘Until one night, their dreams begin to reveal something entirely unexpected.’ Siba and Saba reads like a modern day fairy tale. The writing style is lyrical and the illustrations move from the bright concrete hustle and bustle world of Ugandan city-life in Kampala to the soft slow slightly hazy dream world effortlessly. The story seems to tie together the dream of the a future (practical preparation for the future) and of dreams as an experience created by the imagination and aspiration. I confess read Sleep Well, Siba and Saba a few times to myself, as well. I felt as though I was missing something. There is an element of mystery to it. Both kids loved the illustration and representation of the Ugandan landscape, as well as Siba and Saba. Angelo picked up on the references to the future and asked ‘why do they keep talking about the future?’ I explained my interpretation which I hinted at earlier.
Angelo asked me to take Sleep well, Siba and Saba to school. He wanted his teacher to read it to the class. He often does that, if he has enjoyed a story. When he returned home with the book, he said one of his classmates didn’t like it. The class mate felt it was a book for girls, because the main characters are girls. I wasn’t surprised by the response. I realise some kids and adults feel that way. It’s the same if a book cover features a non-white face, it’s assumed the content would not be suitable for all. Personally I think a good story is just that and I explained it to Angelo. It does not matter who’s on the cover or whether or not it’s about a girl or a boy a good story is for anyone. Sleep Well, Siba and Saba is a wonderful bedtime story that kids and grownups will enjoy.
Sleep well, Siba and Saba was published Lantana Publishing. They were nominated for the Bologna Prize for Best Children’s Publisher of the year 2017. Lantana Publishing is a young, independent publishing house producing award-winning picture books for children. Lantana’s mission is to select outstanding writing from around the world, working with prize-winning authors and illustrators from many countries, while at the same time nurturing new writing talent. I’ve been following Lantana Publishing for a while on social media and I admire the work coming out of their publishing house. Their books are for anyone who wants to give children a multicultural experience. I look forward to seeing what they release next. Sleep Sleep well, Siba and Saba can be bought from the Lantana Publishing website.