Told in simple language and illustrated with constantly changing colour palettes, The Journey tells the poignant story of one fatherless family who flee from war. There is fear, sadness, loneliness and danger a-plenty, but it’s also a book about hope, about love and about freedom.
The theme of moving from darkness to light is subtly portrayed through the images. At the start of the story, the sea beside which the children play is black – a harbinger of what’s to come. At times the family is surrounded by the blackness of both night and fear, but as they progressively journey towards freedom and safety, the openings become light and colourful.
There’s a ring of authenticity about the narrative, derived from the interactions that the author had with refugees. Told sympathetically from the perspective of a young child, the story is free of political rhetoric or moralising. The moment when the child sees birds flying in a blue sky and realises that they are migrating together is a moving insight into the hopes of people fleeing from fear.
It is an ideal book for anyone who wants to share the issue of migration with young children. For a classroom where refugee children are arriving, it provides a powerful means of giving their classmates a glimpse into the harrowing journeys that have brought them to that point.