American Gods author Neil Gaiman has been supporting the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees – an agency which helps displaced people worldwide – for a decade. In 2019, he reached out to his online followers, asking them, “What reminds you of warmth?”, and from the thousands of replies devised a poem which is beautifully brought to life in the form of this graphic title, What You Need To Be Warm.
Baked potatoes, blankets and iron radiators all brought back memories of comfort and warmth for contributors, as do cocoa, chocolate and tea. “Sometimes it only takes a stranger, in a dark place to hold out a badly knitted scarf. To offer a kind word,” writes Gaiman. What You Need… is illustrated by various artists including Marie-Alice Harel – whose illustration of animals of all different sizes cozying up together is her response to non-human creatures who suffer too during conflicts – and Chris Riddell’s illustration of a refugee having to walk away from a “familiar, much loved place”.
Poignant and moving, this book is not only a must-have, but a gift worth buying for young, old and everyone in-between this Christmas, with a portion of sales going direct to UNHCR.
What You Need To Be Warm, Neil Gaiman (Bloomsbury)
Price: £11.69/£9.09 Ebook. Info: here
words DAVID NOBAKHT