“Per balas link aušros. Pasakojimas apie daktaro Jono Basanavičiaus keliones ir darbus” (Eng. “Through Puddles Towards the Dawn. A tale about travels and deeds of doctor Jonas Basanavičius”) is a picture book biography about Jonas Basanavičius, one of the key figures of Lithuanian Independence movement in the early 20th century.
A doctor, scientist, traveller, public official, ethnographer, editor of the first Lithuanian newspaper, explorer, dreamer and storyteller, Basanavičius was a peculiarly enthusiastic and determined person who helped to bring about major changes in the society he lived in.
Main Award at the Lithuanian Book Art Triennale 2018 (among three main awards)
Best Illustrations Award at the National Contest of Children’s Literature in Lithuania organized by IBBY Lithuania and the fund "Švieskime vaikus", 2016.
English translations of excerpts from the original reviews (in Lithuanian)
Much recommended not only for those who want to know more about the culture and history of Lithuania but also for those who wish for a good, funny read.
It is not enough to say that this book is great and inventive in many ways – moreover, it describes a person in a modern way. The book leaves the feeling that you had just encountered that very man yourself: you could see him treating patients in the city of Lom in Bulgaria, walking in Prague with his beloved, working in the palace of the Duke in Varna, and summoning the Great Seimas of Vilnius.
An intimate emotional relationship between the book and the reader is created first and foremost by the lettering – it looks like you are reading a letter, maybe even written personally for you. Illustrations resembling at the same time photography and sketches (that greyness of a pencil!) let us see the past, the times and places where Basanavičius had lived. The intention to introduce Basanavičius from his very childhood let us know him as a person who lived and created, perhaps also doubted and made mistakes. The story is woven very naturally. <...> This book could be a helpful means to talk about nationality, patriotism, folk tales and songs, travels, discoveries. Indeed an interesting publication for children of different ages.
To the question why we need to learn about people who had passed away Monika Vaicenavičienė’s book gives an excellent answer. The book draws attention with its wonderful illustrations. They are charming with simplicity, stressing important things but also leaving space for imagination. Attentiveness to details makes the drawings a valuable supplement to the text. <...> I think especially the episodes of Jonas living abroad is the reason why this book is so suited to discuss with kids issues of emigration, patriotism, national identity. In short, this book helps us to consider what makes us conscious citizens of our country.