The Journey from Francesca Sanna, is a thought provoking picture book covering the journey of a mother and her two children who are forced to move home, move country.
Narrated by one of the young children, we are introduced to how things used to be – living by the sea, spending weekends at the beach … until the war came and took their father.
Now they must go on a journey to somewhere safe. The child’s point of view is incredibly effective and moving. They begin their journey with plenty of suitcases, which become fewer and fewer as their journey progresses. They are met by angry guards at the border, cross huge oceans in a ferry and pass many lands and borders by train.
The child’s confusion and fear is palpable, such is Sanna’s carefully controlled narrative, but over arching that is the love from their mother. Their mother as protector, guide and comforter is an over riding theme that emerges strongly from each page.
Sanna’s beautiful illustrations convey mood and tone incredibly effectively. Darker hues are introduced as the war impacts the family, and are forced to journey through dark forests and past scary border patrols. Lighter colours are softly reintegrated as the little narrator longingly looks at the migrating birds and hopes that her family will soon find their new home too.
Sanna’s story effectively and poignantly gives a voice to the many displaced families that are undertaking similar journeys. Such situations dominate the news at the moment, The Journey gives children the opportunity to understand the human angle in a sensitive manner.