The foreign exchange student

Eric is the tale of a foreign exchange student, which covers the same ground as many of us have experienced, either as the student or as the host. It can be horrible, but it can also be quite wonderful. We are all so different, while still fundamentally similar. And it’s not always easy to work out how to behave.

Shaun Tan, Eric

This lovely little book by Shaun Tan proves what a worthy winner of the Astrid Lindgren award he is. It’s mainly pictures, with few words. That doesn’t make it a young children’s book, though. It’s a thought-provoking story that can help us see what is important in life.

Eric is a most unusual visitor, and his hosts are unsure whether he is happy or not. But they do try hard, and offer him many experiences.

Having a foreign visitor can also get you started on thinking about the whys and hows of your own life. It often comes down to being a ‘cultural thing.’

5 responses to “The foreign exchange student

  1. I really liked Shaun Tan’s The Arrival, so I bet I’d like this one too. And you’re right–the kid or adult distinction doesn’t really matter with his work.

  2. Shaun Tan is a genius – I cannot praise his work highly enough. His words and pictures explore the territory of the human heart in a way that has helped me make sense of some of the more confusing aspects of the world we live in. Read his ‘The Red Tree’. It is his masterpiece.

  3. Thanks so much for reminding me about Shaun Tan. All sorts of people have recommended him to me and I haven’t followed it up, but I will now. xx

  4. I just get this irrational feeling of wanting to pick Shaun up and look after him… (And if you see this Shaun, I’m really very harmless.)

  5. I agree with Debi – he’s a genius.

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