Rosie Runs written and illustrated by Marika Maijala, translated by Mia Spangenberg, and published by Elsewhere Editions.
Translated from Finnish, Rosie Runs is inspired by the life of a real dog who courageously escaped her caged life to find freedom. Little did her captors know just how strong she was!
The text and illustrations brilliantly create momentum while encompassing the reader in Rosie's world through all the senses — for example, from feeling the air as she leaps away from the race track to the eventual moss under her feet.
As Rosie begins to find peace, it's not without suspicion. Train station noises remind her of the racetrack, as do cheers and the smell of grass in a park. She pauses when two dogs approach her to run and play. Moments like these would be helpful discussion starters with children dealing with difficult memories.
Beyond the story of an abused racing dog who runs away, Marika Maijala's story and sleek illustrations motivate readers to pause, to hurry along with the narrative and yet stop on each illustration to observe the world and its own busyness while Rosie runs and runs and runs... Readers will observe who is paying attention to Rosie and who isn't, and wonder why that might be.
Children will also be reassured at the end that Rosie does find freedom and peace. They and their grown-ups will feel further connected to the story, author, and translator through the biographies and notes at the back.
What makes you feel free... Running? Dancing? Drawing? Singing? Swimming?....
Close your eyes and imagine your ideal place to experience your freedom. How does it make you feel? Who is with you, if anyone? Who would you want to be there to help you feel welcome? What colors, sounds, and smells come to mind?
When you're ready, open your eyes and write down or draw what you saw and how you felt.
Imagine even more possibilities...