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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Tunde has already lost his mother to a terrible disease. And now his father is sad and distant. Tunde feels alone. Except when his painting and drawing his pictures. It was a special activity, a passion he shared with his mother. Papa doesn’t understand, especially when Tunde’s report card says the boy’s marks are failing. When trying to reason with Tunde, Papa psychologically pushes the boy away by destroying the boy’s artwork. Tunde runs out of their apartment and onto the busy street where he’s hit by a vehicle and seriously injured. Unfortunately, for Tunde and Papa, it took a trauma like this to allow both sides to realize that what they need most is each other.
Kossim Osseni’s picture book story, Draw Me Close To You, is a compassionate story about family dynamics and expectations at a time when the family is shattered by the loss of a loved one. Papa and his son, Tunde, are struggling over the loss of Tunde’s mother, and the two are using what they know best to deal with their grief. For Tunde, it is his art; for Papa, it is his work. As the plot develops, the two struggle to come to terms with not only their loss, but really is important in their lives. While school marks, work and art are important, it’s the loving bond of a parent and a child that really matters. Both young and old must learn to love and accept the other as they are and just enjoy being together. A powerful story about love, loss and what really matters in life. Beautifully illustrated.