The Journey by Francesca Sanna

The Journey by Francesca Sanna, published by Flying Eye Books is a perfect example of how powerful picture books can be.


The story follows an ordinary family who enjoyed normal things like days out at the seaside until their lives were torn apart by war. Their father is killed so their mother, frightened and worried for her family’s safety, decides to take the children and flee.

The dangers facing the family as they set out on their journey are terrifying, every move has to be made carefully, travelling in constant fear. The devastation and terror of being a refugee is depicted expertly in beautiful pictures that are both tender and raw.

Incredibly poignant imagery give this book great depth; the black of the sea creeping in to wash away their once happy lives, the perspective of being tiny against huge danger, eyes in the darkness showing the unwavering fear of being found.

Told from the perspective of the children every image has been expertly crafted but the spread of the mother sleeping in the forest with her two children is so deeply moving it breaks my heart. This picture shows the unquestionable faith children have in grown ups to keep them safe yet mirrored against the stark vulnerability of a scared human being, the weight of her responsibilities and struggle laid bare in the silence of the night.


An invaluable book to help children, and indeed adults, develop a greater understanding, empathy and tolerance towards our fellow human beings.

Francesca Sanna wrote this book after meeting child refugees and hearing their stories, through this powerful work of art she has given a voice to a desperate situation too many people in our world face.

This book has beem endorsed by Amnesty International UK who have an excellent collection of educational resources and information on their website – Amnesty International.

You can see more of Francesca Sanna’s work on her website here. Follow on Twitter @Frenci_san.

Buy The Journey from Waterstones.

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