The Journey ISBN: 9781909263994
Sanna, Francesca
Published by Flying Eye Books, 2016
This deeply moving picture book about a family leaving a war-torn country to find a home in a safe place, has great resonance in our times. 'One day the war took my father' says the boy who tells the story. He and his mother and sister find themselves in a sad and dark place, and ultimately make the decision to leave. Mother says it will be 'a great adventure'. They pack their belongings and drive off in the night so as not to be seen, but as time goes by and their various modes of transport become dependent on others, they must gradually leave their belongings behind. At the border there are guards, and the danger is great and very frightening. Mother pays a man to help them over, but there are more troubles ahead. There is a vast sea to cross, and when they are in a crowded boat, they can only tell stories, some of them about the land where they hope to go - where there are 'kind fairies' and 'green forests' and where someone will know how to stop the war. The family is lucky to be together, but there are still train journeys to take across more borders. Finally, there is hope that one day they will, like the birds, be able to find a place to rest from flight. The illustrations are amazing. A combination of light and darkness with flat planes and square lines and great detail, they evoke the sadness, the fear, and the horror of the situation, and yet, they also manage to show the mother's strength and determination to get them through. The book is endorsed by Amnesty International UK, and the author-illustrator explains that her ideas for the story came from meeting families in a refugee centre in Italy. The whole book could not be more redolent of what those families have been through. There are classroom notes on the book available from www.amnesty.org.uk/education. An excellent choice for schools.
Age: 5+