Whatever I was expecting when I picked this book up, Francesca Sanna completely exceeded them. I’d like to add this as a read-a-like to Why? (Nikolai Popov) and The Terrible Things (Eve Bunting), which I wrote about earlier, in that the reader is not spared for even a moment some of the experiences of refugees and migrants, and all of the authors do a spectacular job of opening up conversation about these heavier topics.
I’ll just quote Sanna’s blurb on her inspiration for writing The Journey:
The Journey is actually a story about many journeys, and it began with the story of two girls I met in a refugee center in Italy. After meeting them I realized that behind their journey lay something very powerful. So I began collecting more stories of migration and interviewing many people from many different countries. A few months later, in September 2014, when I started studying a Master of Arts in Illustration at the Academy of Lucerne, I knew I wanted to create a book about these true stories. Almost every day on the news we hear the terms “migrants” and “refugees” but we rarely ever speak to or hear the personal journeys that they have had to take. This book is a collage of all those personal stories and the incredible strength of the people within them.
I hope you pick up this book and go on a journey of your own through the story, because both the text and the illustrations complement each other well, making for an experience you won’t soon forget. Find below the cut some more suggested reads from the junior section about immigrant experiences, and displacement.