The Promise

For ages 5-99…

Title: The photo 1Promise
Written by: Nicola Davies
Illustrated by: Laura Carlin
Candlewick Press, 2014, fiction
Suitable for ages: 5-9
Themes/topics: hope, promises, friendship, nature

Opening: When I was young, I lived in a city that was mean and hard and ugly. Its streets were dry as dust, cracked by heat and cold, and never blessed with rain. A gritty yellow wind blew constantly scratching around the buildings like a hungry dog.        

Brief synopsis: (from ) On a mean street in a mean, broken city, a young girl tries to snatch an old woman’s bag. But the frail old woman, holding on with the strength of heroes, says the thief can’t have it without giving something in return: the promise. It is the beginning of a journey that will change the thieving girl’s life–and a chance to change the world, for good.

Links to resources:
This book lends itself well to discussion and art on a variety of topics.

  • How are we influenced by the people around us? List positive and negative.
  • How are we influenced by our environment? List positive and negative.
  • How can we change the negatives?
  • What promise would you ask others to make?
  • Design a “smile” experiment. How does a smile affect people?
  • Plant! Seeds, a tree, a garden, flowers… the possibilities are endless. A pot in the window, a tree in the school yard…..

Why I like this book: This quiet and powerful book resonates in the heart. It’s about redemption, the restorative influence of nature, and the ability we all have to make a difference. With haunting illustrations in the beginning, the narrator communicates a helplessness, recognizing that she has become as mean as the world around her. When she is faced with keeping a promise, her inherent goodness shines through, and she is empowered with purpose. The images transform with color as the girl’s hope grows and blossoms. A beautiful linking of our humanity and nature.

Visit author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Books for a plethora of picture books listed by title and topic/theme, each with teacher/parent resources.


14 thoughts on “The Promise

    1. I think there is an important idea in this book that kids who have done something bad are not necessarily “bad” kids. I love books that plant a little something to think about in our minds. 🙂 Hope you like it.

      Liked by 1 person

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