Hello! I’m Elise Gravel. I’m an author and illustrator. I have published many picture books and graphic novels for kids, both in English and in French. I also love to illustrate free printables for parents and teachers: my goal is to promote diversity, tolerance, respect and empathy. You can find my books, free printables and other cool things in my Boutique.
The New York Times liked my book “What is a refugee?”
Kids Have Questions. These Picture Books Have Answers.
What is a refugee?
By Elise Gravel
Any child exposed to the news these days may wonder about refugees, and a picture book is a great way to learn about them. Gravel’s bubbly, cartoon-style art and plain-spoken explanations help soften the truth’s harsh edges — starting with the fact that they “had to flee their country because they were in danger.” The whole package makes it easy to empathize, conveying gently that “a refugee is a person, just like you and me.”
You can buy the book here.
Here’s a free printable poster I made to talk to kids about the advantages of diversity. Teachers and parents, you can download it here and print it for school or home use (no commercial uses allowed).
My new baby board book is in stores today!
This is by far my most popular book in French so, from experience, I predict that your toddlers will want you to read it to them over and over and over and over again, and possibly will sleep with it too.
Warning: some tickling is required.
This book is in stores today! An accessible picture book that simply and graphically introduces the term “refugee” to young children to help them better understand the world in which they live. Buy it here.
Review from The Bulletin:
Gravel begins her introduction to the refugee experience with a simple premise: “A refugee is a person, just like you and me.” From there, she walks readers through the various reasons people are forced to leave their homes, the dangers of their journeys, and the trials of asylum, and then returns to the fact that refugees are looking for belonging and safety—“just like you and me.” Gravel avoids preachiness and manages a rather titanic feat of humanizing an overwhelming humanitarian crisis for young audiences with a direct, no-frills text that avoids euphemisms but maintains accessibility. The illustrations are similarly kid appropriate, with naïve renderings of dot-eyed figures (with a variety of skin tones and hair color, nodding to the global nature of forced exodus) running from ruined cities in shock, navigating rough waters with grim determination, and approaching their new circumstances with hesitant hope. End matter includes “Refugee Kids Speak” featuring quotes from children Gravel interviewed, along with short biographies of famous refugees. KQG
Using simple, direct text, Gravel explains what a refugee is, the reasons these individuals leave their countries of origin, and the steps they must follow in order to find safety and regain a normal life. Throughout, she emphasizes that refugees are people “just like you and me.” War, political instability, and prejudices can disrupt lives, forcing people to flee to refugee camps, where they must wait until a new country will accept them. Gravel’s cartoon-style art is used to great effect here. Bold lines, saturated colors, and expressive faces serve to emphasize the human cost of displacement. Gravel’s strength is her ability to humanize this topic without resorting to sensationalism. Both art and text avoid specific details about individual lives before or in the camps, but scenes of burning buildings, barbed wire, and tent cities make clear that the life of a refugee is difficult. Appended interviews with displaced children and minibiographies of famous refugees add to the appeal of this essential title for promoting understanding of the refugee perspective.
Here’s a free printable I made to teach kids about empathy.
Parents, teachers, educators, librarians, and basically everyone who works with children: You can download and print this for educational uses. No commercial use allowed. Download the high-res image here. To see my other free printable posters, click here and visit my “Free Printable Stuff” section. To see my books for kids, click here. To be notified when I post a new poster, follow me on Twitter, Facebook , or Instagram.
Here’s a free printable poster I made to explain autism to children. Teachers and parents, you can download it here and print it for school or home use (no commercial uses allowed).
I am not an expert in the matter; I had a lot of help from autistic people to fine-tune the French version of this poster, but I’m always interested in learning from your own experience with autism if it differs from this explanation or if you have something to add. You can comment on this poster on my Facebook page.
When haters go after your looks and differences, it means they have nowhere left to go… and then you know you’re winning.
– Greta Thunberg
Here’s a free printable I made to teach kids about what’s happening in the Amazon rainforest and how we can help.
Parents, teachers, educators, librarians, and basically everyone who works with children: You can download and print this for educational uses. No commercial use allowed. Download the high-res image here.
To see my other free printable posters, click here and visit my “Free Printable Stuff” section. To see my books for kids, click here. To be notified when I post a new poster, follow me on Twitter, Facebook , or Instagram.