‘The Journey’ by Francesca Sanna is one of my favourite picturebooks ever, a beautifully told tale of forced migration told with heart and love.
With ‘Me and My Fear’ Sanna takes us on that next step. What happens when we find a new home and place. Starting a brand-new school as a refugee, unable to speak or understand the language, a young girl relies on her devoted companion, Fear.
Fear is not presented as something to be scared of, more as a thing that is trying to protect us. Fear is soft and round, it is the bubble we put around ourselves to stop things hurting. The problem becomes that fear becomes our barrier to moving forward and dominates our thoughts and behaviours. Realising how we all have those fears and how we control and manage them is key. Sharing this book with children was wonderful to behold especially how they talked about how they could and would help.
As it grows in size from a cute companion into a fully-grown monster, children will recognize the difference between a little healthy fear and allowing fear to take control. We all have fears that a children’s picturebook so bravely addresses this makes it a treasure to behold.
The simplicity of the story makes it perfect for KS1 but it equally has a profound message for older children too.