Me and My Fear

Francesca Sanna. Flying Eye, $17.95 (40p) ISBN 978-1-911171-53-9
“I have always had a secret,” the dark-haired girl who narrates this story begins. “A tiny friend called Fear.” She stoops to see the small, lumpy white figure with an uncertain smile. After the girl arrives in a new country, where it’s storming outside, Fear grows as big as a room. “Fear hates my new school. When the teacher says my name wrong, she grows angry.” In silkscreen-like spreads by Sanna (The Journey), milky blues, pinks, and ochres gentle the force of the story’s feelings, and graceful curves give the compositions pleasing rhythm. Observant viewers will notice that while the girl wrestles with her worries (“I feel more and more lonely every day. Fear says it’s because no one likes me”), a boy looks shyly at her. Friendship and, soon, a feeling of belonging follow. While Sanna articulates anxious feelings about immigrating (“I don’t understand anyone and they don’t understand me”), this creative depiction shows how friendship, empathy, and connection can help bring the overwhelming down to size for all. Ages 3–7. Agent: Andrea Morrison, Writers House. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/09/2018
Release date: 09/11/2018
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