'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Sunday 18 November 2018

Review: Wisp: A Story of Hope

Idris has lived his entire life in a tent city where nothing but emptiness and darkness surrounds the people that occupy that space. Memories of their past life have been replaced by the vastness of nothing but dirt. 

One day a wisp of light appears. It whispers a word and that word brings a smile and a memory with it as it floats from one adult person to the other. But not to Idris.

His memories are formed by the blankness and shapelessness of his life. So it is a whispered promise that Idris catches and holds; a Wisp of a promise that lights up his world as it flies higher and brighter, and increases until the darkness is replaced by light.

Wisp is written in the language of metaphors, a style frequently used in Zana Fraillon’s work in such an accomplished way that it catches your breath. The story is set in illustrated pages of expressive shadowed images of a solitary child, tents, boats, swirling seas, an old person’s face without hope or dreams.

Until the Wisp arrives to change it all.

The exquisite illustrations are created by Grahame Baker-Smith in dark tones to reflect the hopelessness of the lives of refugees, and their struggle to find freedom for themselves and their children. It shows the evolution of the state of refugees; with the birth of tolerance and empathy, acceptance and inclusion which has begun. The book moves from darkness, to colour, to blinding light.

The refugee theme is a subject close to Fraillon’s heart, which she writes unashamedly and frequently about with a rawness that shocks and demands attention.

This is a picture book depicting hope and rebirth; of the elimination of darkness caused by ignorance, and new beginnings.

Title: Wisp: A Story of Hope
Author: Zana Fraillon
Illustrator: Grahame Baker-Smith
Publisher: Hachette, $24.99
Publication Date: September 2018
Format: Hardcover
ISBN: 9780734418043
For ages: 6+    
Type: Picture Book