David’s Trip to Paraguay: The Land of Amazing Colours by Miriam Rudolph (CMU Press, 2011) is a recently published children’s book that tells the story of young David who recounts a long and arduous journey from a small southern Manitoba farm to the Chaco region of Paraguay in 1927. A bilingual book — text is in German and in English — the book is also colorfully illustrated with Rudolph’s vibrant images, cleverly ‘stitched’ as it were, by all the various modes of transport David takes to get to his final destination. My daughter enjoyed connecting each illustrated page to the previous one by finding the travel image — whether railroad, or boat — unique to both. In the front of the book, the entire set of travel images are united in a long band showing the journey.
How did David come to take this trip? In 1927, a group of Mennonites in southern Manitoba, disheartened by the province’s ruling against the presence of German schools in certain immigrant communities like theirs, left Canada for the remote Chaco area in Paraguay. David’s parents were of these Mennonites. This long trip left a deep impression on a young boy, and later David would recount his memories of this trip to his grandchildren, one of them, being the author and illustrator of this book, Miriam Rudolph.
My daughter and I enjoyed reading this colorful book together, and maybe, some day she can read it with her Oma in German!