Spirit of Hope, by Bob Graham

They waved to the passing trucks and the drivers waved back.
Everyone knew the Fairweathers,
and the Fairweathers knew everyone.

The Fairweathers live in a little house in the middle of an industrial area. Six days a week they walk across the bridge with Dad, waving goodbye as he goes to work in the factory. Six days a week they welcome him home. This is a happy family who enjoy simple pleasures. On the seventh day each week, the Fairweathers go to the docks and have a picnic among all the big ships. Their make-believe ship is called ‘Spirit of Hope’. And it is this spirit of home that they cling to when they learn their the land where their house sits is earmarked for a factory. The family search for a new home to live in. Inspiration comes from the smallest, quietest member of the family, Mary.

Bob Graham is well-known for his deceptively simple but heart-warming stories. His trademark illustrations detail the minutiae of family life. Like many of his stories, Spirit of Hope celebrates family. The front cover shows largely grey with a bright white spotlight on Mary, the smallest member of the family. To an outsider, it might seem that living between factories and next to a busy road might not seem the most ideal home. But this family celebrates every day. They celebrate Dad arriving home, playing simple imaginative games and their many friends. When trouble strikes, it is the strength of their unity that helps provide a solution. Spirit of Hope was first released in 1993, but is as vibrant and meaningful today as it ever was. Recommended for 4-7 year olds.

Spirit of Hope

Spirit of Hope, Bob Graham
Lothian Books 2008
ISBN: 9780734410696

review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author

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