Inspiring Young Readers

posted on 26 Mar 2020

One World, Many Colours by Ben Lerwill, illustrated by Alette Strathof

In grim times you really need to be reminded of just how astonishing and beautiful the world around us can be. Just as we are being cajoled and chivvied to ‘self-isolate’ to avoid the ravages of a pandemic, along comes a book like this to bring a blast of joyfulness into the mix.

Ben Lerwill, an award-winning freelance travel writer, takes us on a colour-themed journey around the natural beauties of the world – and we can do it without leaving our sofas.

So although we go to the snowy wastes, the rain forests, mountains and even into the deep blue sea, Lerwill also takes us around the beauty of the human creation – cities like Paris, New York, London. The riotous colour of the football match is also given its own showcase.

It’s also a celebration of the huge variety of different cultures you will encounter as you travel the globe. I loved the trip it took me on to Hong Kong and the celebrations for Chinese New Year and I could easily imagine myself partaking of that tried and tested recreational sport of gobbling down coffee and cake at the street café in Paris.

All this is simple but splendidly effective. But in truth the success of this book is just as dependent on the fantastic illustrations from Alette Strathof, a Dutch artist currently working in Paris who studied illustration at the Willlem de Kooning Academy. I wouldn’t want to select a favourite from all the sumptuous full page illustrations but you’ll get a flavour of this from the ones I’ve included at the end of this review.

Kudos is also due to the publisher, Words & Pictures, which is part of the Quarto Group because they have done a marvellous job of producing this book. It’s a generous foolscap size and illustrations are allowed to spread right across a full spread and to bleed right off the edge without a frame to constrain them.

If there’s any justice in this world you ought to be able to get this book from your local independent bookshop when we’re out the other side of the current crisis. But if you want it now – and it will bring light to your life – you can order it directly from the publisher and get it delivered.


Terry Potter

March 2020