cover image It’s So Difficult

It’s So Difficult

Raúl Nieto Guridi, trans. from the Spanish by Lawrence Schimel. Eerdmans, $17.9

“When I leave the house, everything is so difficult for me. I feel a prickling that won’t go away, and every step I take is a triumph.” Based on Guridi’s experiences as an educator, the author-illustrator details the internality of a largely nonverbal child narrator experiencing a school day. As the white child walks out the front door, rides a bus, attends class, and heads back home, earnest first-person lines render experiences of sensory sensitivity and overload, including around a shouting figure and “greetings, laughter, fathers and mothers saying goodbye.” Calming actions are also detailed, involving counting, calculating, noticing the city’s shapes and colors, and taking the space the child needs (“My mother always tells me not to rush myself”). Through-out, scratchy outlines and mixed-media art foregrounds evoke the figure’s encounters, as in the much-reproduced image of one open-mouthed, speaking face expressing a relentless barrage of sound, making for a perceptive portrait of one child’s experience. Ages 5–9. (Mar.)