cover image The Journey

The Journey

Francesca Sanna. Flying Eye (Consortium, dist.), $18.95 (48p) ISBN 978-1-909263-99-4

Storybook imagery—foreboding woods, looming giants, and creatures of forest and sea—collides with desperately real circumstances as a family seeks haven from encroaching war. As Sanna’s debut opens, a family of four builds a vast sand castle city at the beach as inky waters pour in ominously. Those waves transform into swiping, grabbing hands on the following page (“Every day bad things started happening around us”), and the children’s father is soon killed. After the family decides to leave for a faraway country, Sanna traces their long journey, devoting attention to the children’s reluctance to leave behind familiar surroundings and the sheer difficulty of their effort. “The further we go... the more we leave behind,” she writes as the family switches from vehicle to vehicle, sometimes hiding beneath fruit or clay jugs. Sanna’s crisp-edged, screenprintlike forms strike a careful balance between representing visceral dangers and offering tiny measures of hope. Given the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe and immigration debates in the U.S. and abroad, Sanna’s story is well poised to spark necessary conversations about the costs of war. Ages 3–7. (Sept.)