Sleep Well, Siba and Saba

Written by Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl and illustrated by Sandra van Doorn



*BookTrust’s Books We Like for May 2017*

Forgetful sisters Siba and Saba are always losing something. Sandals, slippers, sweaters – you name it, they lose it. When the two sisters fall asleep each night, they dream about the things they have lost that day. Until, one night, their dreams begin to reveal something entirely unexpected… With playful illustrations and a lullaby-like rhythm, this heart-warming story set in Uganda is truly one to be treasured.


‘This imaginative international tale will delight readers of all ages. Isdahl weaves Ugandan culture into the tale by incorporating Luganda, the language of Uganda… And van Doorn, a French artist based in Australia, brings the whimsical story of these close-knit sisters vibrantly to life with colorful images of Ugandan plants, animals, and places the sisters encounter. ‘ – Kirkus Reviews, STARRED

‘Charming! The expressive and elegant artwork, with references to Ugandan tales makes the journey to the world of Siba and Saba more delightful. A comforting tale about loss and the ways of being found.” – School Library Journal

‘There is much to like about this unusual picture book. Isdahl’s alliterative narrative floats like a poem, sometimes rhyming, sometimes not, and is perfectly complemented by Van Doorn’s ethereal illustrations. This beautifully rendered story is about the past and the future, change and constancy, and family love and inspired dreams, whether conjured while awake or sound asleep.’ – Amina Chaudhri, ALA Booklist Online

‘The tale of Siba and Saba is heartwarming and inspiring all in one go! In truth, I want to read this book every night and then fall asleep with it in my arms and dream of my future and what I can look forward to experiencing and achieving. Simply stunning!’ – Alexis Filby, librarian and author of popular blog Book Monsters

‘An entertaining international treat!’ – Julie Danielson, Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast

‘Both story and illustrations are full of references to Ugandan folklore, and combine to create a wonderful bedtime book that is sure to help your child drift off to sleep.’ BookTrust

‘This most delightful tale with its enchanting illustrations wonderfully captures the dreams of two adorable sisters – what a joy to read!’ – Zahrah Nesbitt-Ahmed, African literature blog, Bookshy

‘Sleep well, Siba and Saba is an enchanting, beautiful and fun read – utterly compelling.’ – Yewande Omotoso, author of The Woman Next Door

‘Such eloquence of words and pictures; this simply sparkles with brilliance. Isdahl’s sibilant text combines with stunningly beautiful scenes of the sisters both inside and outdoors in the African landscapes.’ – Jill Bennett, Red Reading Hub reviews

‘This is a charming, engaging picture book that will fill children with delight. The story is universal, but the beautiful illustrations reflect the author’s Ugandan heritage, lending a magical quality to the tale. The story will help children come to terms with the idea that some things lie in the past and can only be recollected in dreams, but that there are always new things to discover, that perhaps we haven’t even dreamed of yet!’ – Mary MayfieldOur Book Reviews Online

‘This charming story by Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl has a gentle poetic narrative that ebbs and flows from page to page. The gorgeous expressive artwork by French illustrator Sandra van Doorn conveys a real richness of colour evoking the vibrancy of its setting, whether it’s the marketplace or an idyllic beach which makes this book a joy to look at.’ Outside in World

‘This stunningly illustrated picture book offers a snapshot into life for two sisters growing up in Uganda, with a delightful story that rejoices in the precious details of the sisters’ day to day lives as well as with their hopes and dreams for the future.’ – Books for Topics

‘I think this book also has a much deeper message too: We are not our stuff.  We are much more than our possessions.  The sisters were able to let go of the things from their past and free themselves for much more exciting things to come in their future. A lovely book that teaches children there are always new things to discover!’ – Here Wee Read blogdiversity and inclusion expert

‘This gentle, rhythmic story by Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl is perfect for bedtime and the illustrations by Sandra van Doorn are a lot of fun.’ – Kate Eccles, author of popular blog Along Came Poppy

Sleep Well, Siba and Saba is a captivating magical story about sibling love and the power of dreams. A wonderful bedtime story that kids and grownups will enjoy.’ – Maria Tumolo, author of popular blog The Tiger Tales

‘Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl writes a love letter to children. Sleep Well, Siba and Saba is a playful, lyrical and moving book.’ – Aïcha Diallo, Associate Editor of Contemporary And (C&)

‘The pictures are enchanting. This is the book little Sharon would have needed. A beautiful achievement.’ – Sharon Dodua Otoo, award-winning author and editor

‘A gently captivating story told with a sweet poetic cadence that must be savoured again and again. The delicately drawn illustrations are rich with details that celebrate the everyday uniqueness of ‘the Pearl of Africa’. What a gem!’ – Doreen Baingana, award-winning children’s author

‘Dreaming or awake, Siba and Saba inhabit an ethereal, whimsical place that is at once Kampala and not. Sleep Well, Siba and Saba is a lovely, fey and subtle book.’ – Olufemi Terry, author and winner of the 2010 Caine Prize for African Writing

Sleep Well, Siba and Saba is a relatable, colourful and poetic story that will surely engage and entertain children from diverse backgrounds and of a wide age range.’ – Ellen Banda-Aaku, award-winning children’s author

‘Lovely! Set against an African backdrop, this sweet, beautifully illustrated book tells the story of two Ugandan sisters, who learn to shift their focus from the past to the future…I cannot stress enough the emotional and spiritual importance of children’s literature for and about children of African decent.’- Mirjam Nuenning , translator and educational director

‘Chocked full of colour, warmth and love, and told with a lilting rhythm, this story also has a playful humour at its core, with many beautifully-observed moments and details to enjoy in the wonderful illustrations. Like all the best picture books: an effortless pleasure to read out loud, but with a depth and charm within the artwork.’ – The Little Adventurer, popular review blog

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