#WorldKidLit Weekend: A Place for Pauline

A Place for Pauline

Pauline is the eldest sibling in a family of five (almost six) people. Pauline’s friends are envious of her being the oldest sibling, because she doesn’t get hand-me-downs, and her parents were free to take lots of pictures of her when she was younger. But Pauline doesn’t agree with her friends, she doesn’t even have her own bedroom, she has to share with her younger brother. Her brother loves playing sports indoors, her sister enjoys “playing restaurant” in the kitchen, her father plays French music in the bathroom, and not to mention, her mother is pregnant, so soon she will have another sibling to contribute to the general household volume. Considering these circumstances, silence is a rare yet valuable commodity in Pauline’s house. As she never feels she is in the right place at the right time, Pauline finds the only place she can enjoy her books is in the solace of the closet under the stairs. Pauline begins daydreaming of a different world for herself in which she is free to enjoy her hobbies and interests without imposition, and of course with the accompaniment of her cat, Charlie.  Pauline decides that instead of an imaginary adventure, she should travel to her grandmother in France to seek the peace, attention, and space she needs from her chaotic family household. A plan is set in motion and Pauline packs her knapsack to begin her journey, leading her to a place she dreamed of, but not the intended destination. Though the end may be considered abrupt by readers, it sheds light on the power of simple solutions.

A Place for Pauline is a short graphic novel presenting a story of the age-old struggle of comforts vs. discomforts in family coexistence. Pauline addresses the cognitive dissonance of feeling alone in a family-crowded room. Ultimately, Pauline learns how invaluable it can be when someone knows what makes your heart sing and how you can fill a role in the larger family unit. Though we may have differences with our family members, finding our niche and connecting over what we have in common with one another can remind us of what it means to belong. The clever and colorful illustrations reinforce Pauline’s imagination and express her perspective of the family dynamic, adding a necessary and integral layer of visual context to this story.

Readers who may find comfort in this story include caregivers of large families and eldest siblings. The suggested audience for this book is children ages 3 to 7.

A Place for Pauline

Written by Anouk Mahiout

Illustrated by Marjolaine Perreten

Published by Groundwood Books

ISBN: 9781773066097

Reviews: Kirkus Reviews

Kaley Solt is set to graduate from the University of Denver with her Master’s in Library and Information Science in June 2023, seeking a career as a Youth Services Librarian. She enjoys spending time with her niece and nephews, quilting, and camping with her husband and dogs. 

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