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Children's Books - 4-8 Years New Titles

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Half A World Away

ISBN: 9781732635043
Binding: Hardcover
Author: Jamie Kalakaru-Mava with Christina Vang
Illustrator: Jamie Kalakaru-Mava
Pages: 38
Trim: 10 x 10 inches
Published: 04/02/2024

1st Edition, 250 numbered copies printed here in Minneapolis

Half a World Away is a vibrantly illustrated children's book by Minnesota author and artist Jamie (Schumacher) Kalakaru-Mava. The story follows young Esme and her family on their journey through the South Asian island country of Sri Lanka. There, Esme reunites with her Nana, who gives her a sketch book and encourages her to draw her memories. Esme's sketchbook soon fills with beautiful illustrations of their family's adventures, imbued with the rich tradition and aesthetics of Sri Lankan batik.


Jamie (Schumacher) Kalakaru-Mava traded the warm beaches of California for the snowy lakes of Minnesota. She found art, community, and more. By day she works with Minnesota's creative and cultural districts. By night she's a visual artist and writer. The daughter of two immigrants from two very different countries, she weaves themes of culture and community into her work.

Jamie's writing has been featured in Pollen, the Star Tribune, and MN Women's Press. Her two prior books are creative nonfiction works that highlight Minnesota communities, and her murals and visual art can be seen throughout the Twin Cities. Jamie is a Loft Literary Center Mirrors & Windows Fellow, and this is her children's book debut.


"With this stunning debut book, dual thread illustrator and writer Jamie Kalakaru-Mava combines distinct visuals with a relatable story. Her illustration style is vibrant, original, and inviting. Young readers will find multiple points of familiarity and curiosity in the story she tells. As awareness of our world and the people who share it grows, we need books like Jamie's, to add to a conversation that's long overdue." - Bao Phi

"This charming, lively book brings readers through a unique journey to and from Sri Lanka, one of the author's homelands. Through every special experience, readers can delight in familial and cultural history brought close through a child's eyes filled with wonder and love. The illustrations glow with a sense of place and care for relationships." - Sun Yung Shin 신 선 영

"Young readers will enjoy this sweet story about reconnecting with one's family culture." - Mélina Mangal

"Half A World Away is a colorful memory-scape that gives us a tender glimpse into one family's connection to Sri Lanka and what it means to 'be home'. American children's literature is more rich and vibrant because of stories like Half A World Away." - Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay

"This fascinating and heart warming story takes me back to the culture once I called my own. As a child of immigrants, Jamie dives into her dad's Sri Lankan culture by identifying his roots and traits through her own lenses." - Kusala Wijesekera

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