Meena by Sine van Mol
Illustrated by Carianne Wijffels
Being a first round panelist for the Cybils awards this year has turned out to be one of the coolest things I've gotten to do lately (and we're just getting started!). Aside from always carrying around 10 picture books inside my already-heavy-teacher's bag, I've had the opportunity to come across books I don't think I would've ever seen/read if it weren't for the Cybils list of nominees. Meena is one of those books.
Written by a Belgian author, Meena tells the story of three children living in Fly Street who are certain that their old neighbor, Meena, is a witch. They believe she eats toads and drinks blood and gets a thrill out of shouting things outside her home, calling her a witch. "Then one day they saw something horrible." They saw a young girl inside Meena's home and of course they immediately believed the girl must had been kidnapped. The young girl tries to convince them that Meena is not a witch, and is just her grandma. But the kids don't believe her. Will they come close enough to see the real Meena? Maybe a delicious cherry pie will help.
Meena is a great read aloud to share this Halloween season. It reminds you of classic stories about misunderstood curmudgeons and making rush judgments. The illustrations are very interesting, with multiple perspective switches and mixed media. Glad I came across this one.