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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Little Girl Who Was Afraid of Everything (The)
by Aurora Cacciapuoti
Age Range: Under_5
Ami is afraid of absolutely EVERYTHING – she won’t go to the playground because she might fall off the swing or get stung by nettles, nor will she go for a walk in the park with her grandmother in case there is a storm with thunder and lightning. Even when Ami’s dad suggests they go to a rescue centre to choose a dog Ami is afraid it might bite her. Ami is just afraid of everything until, that is, she meets someone who needs her help. Now she must find the strength to put all her fears and anxiety behind her.
Sardinian author and illustrator Aurora Cacciapuoti has written a charming story sensitively tackling the subject of a child experiencing anxiety and fear of the unknown, and of allowing them to find a way of dealing with it through helping others. In a gentle and amusing way, Cacciapuoti demonstrates how Ami begins to manage her anxiety by doing all the things that she had previously been frightened of with her new friend.
The simple text and child-like artwork will enable children who experience similar fears to identify with Ami and learn that they can be overcome. Cacciapuoti studied psychology and art therapy and at the back of the book she dedicates it “to everyone, children and adults, who have ever struggled with anxiety and panic attacks.”
The illustrations, in a mixture of traditional and digital techniques and a limited palette of black, grey and red on a stark white background are so expressive. As the reader moves towards the end of the book Ami and her ‘grey friend’ are immersed in colour as their fears slowly begin to evaporate. This is a powerful story of courage and friendship.