The Journey by Italian author-illustrator Francesca Sanna, is an emotional and poignant picture book about a family forced to leave their war-torn home. Francesca Sanna does a beautiful job in telling and illustrating a story that shares so much of the refugee crisis that is currently reshaping western and world politics.
In her author’s note she says, “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.”
It is difficult to understand the complexities of politics and wars, but it is not difficult to understand basic human rights, which children so frequently excel at—understanding right from wrong, recognizing kindness or the absence of. The Journey is a testament to the physical and emotional hardships that come with fleeing your home. It provides an opportunity to share and discuss with children the complexities of the world, home and safety, and a reminder that we are all human.