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edition:eBook
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published: June 2018
ISBN:9781554554553

The Stamp Collector

by Jennifer Lanthier, illustrated by François Thisdale

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friendship, books & libraries, other
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $10.99
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback Hardcover
published: June 2018
ISBN:9781554554553
Description

A city boy finds a stamp that unlocks his imagination; a country boy is captivated by stories. When they grow up, the two boys take different paths—one becomes a prison guard, the other works in a factory—but their early childhood passions remain. When the country boy's stories of hope land him in prison, the letters and stamps sent to him from faraway places intrigue the prison guard and a unique friendship begins.

About the Authors

Jennifer Lanthier is a biotechnology journalist who lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and three children. In her free time she coaches middle-school basketball and dreams of jump shots and sky hooks. The Mystery of the Martello Tower is her first novel.

Author profile page >

Jennifer Lanthier is a biotechnology journalist who lives in Toronto, Canada, with her husband and three children. In her free time she coaches middle-school basketball and dreams of jump shots and sky hooks. The Mystery of the Martello Tower is her first novel.

Author profile page >
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
Age:
8 to 12
Grade:
2 to 17
Editorial Review

"Jennifer Lanthier faced formidable challenges in crafting her first picture book. The journalist and author had to figure out how to tell a story about freedom of expression to a young audience; how to ensure the book remained meaningful without becoming too dark; and how to give the story power beyond its political message. With The Stamp Collector, illustrated by François Thisdale, Lanthier has succeeded in overcoming these challenges. . . Thisdale's dreamlike illustrations feature textured backgrounds with collages of postmarks and Chinese characters. Darkness is illuminated by moments of whimsy (a postage stamp imagined as a kite) and the exquisite detail of the colourful stamps."

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Reader Reviews

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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

The Stamp Collector

In China, a poor city boy who loves stamps becomes a prison guard to support his family. His life intersects with that of a poor country boy who loves words. Hired as a factory worker, the rural lad is jailed for writing about the pollution caused by his employer. Strict prison rules forbid the guard and the prisoner from conversing. Unbeknownst to them, the writer’s story is spreading across the land, generating hope among working people. Years pass, and the guard becomes intrigued when letters for the prisoner begin to arrive from distant countries. Besides being fascinated by the beautiful stamps on these envelopes, he learns of the writer’s past and they become silent friends. When the prisoner dies as a result of the harsh jail conditions, the guard leaves his employment, devoting himself courageously to the memory of the author.

With great sensitivity, Lanthier has written a stirring account about the dire circumstances of these young men. Her words settle deeply and unforgettably into our souls. Here is her description of their growing friendship: “Each day, the writer grows weaker. Yet, in whispers, he tells the guard a new story. And the story fills the guard’s soul until he wonders if he will burst. He marvels at the words that soar and swoop and thrill and break his heart.”

Thisdale’s alluring illustrations blend traditional drawing and painting with digital imagery. His expressive artwork is poignant in its beauty. Detailed Chinese landscapes are creatively blended with dreamy, imaginative vistas.

In an afterword entitled “Freedom to Write, Freedom to Read,” Lanthier explains that she was inspired to write this book by two imprisoned Chinese writers. She describes the punitive realities facing writers in countries where no laws protect freedom of speech or expression, and discusses PEN International, an organization which helps and brings hope to imprisoned writers. In fact, a portion of this book’s proceeds will support PEN Canada’s initiatives.

The Stamp Collector is a profound book about freedom and friendship, which will move and enlighten all who read it.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Fall 2012. Volume 35 No. 4.

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