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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)
it's so difficult
by Raul Nieto Guridi
Age Range: 6-8
It’s fairly common to turn to books with the intention to escape from the difficulties of everyday life—looking to the colourful pages and fantastical storylines for distraction. However, sometimes doing so causes the reader to ignore their true feelings. For those who find life to be difficult, it’s so difficult is the best book to read to feel less alone.
Originally written by Spanish author Raúl Nieto Guridi and translated into English by Lawrence Schimel, it’s so difficult spotlights a main character who writes in the first person, talking about how overwhelming and anxiety-provoking daily life can be. On black pages with no illustrations, the white text details stressors that adults and other people might think are small, such as hearing loud noises and talking to strangers. Guridi recognizes that these things certainly are not small. In the back of the book, he writes “let’s make the difficult easy. ”
The pages of the book without text contain Guridi’s illustrations, which paint the main character and most of the other images in black. In some of the illustrations, there is only one colour other than black. And on the page after the words “It’s so difficult to concentrate,” the most colours at once are featured. It wouldn’t be without reason to associate the colours in the artwork with the main character’s stimulation levels.
For those who might benefit from extra support regarding how difficult life can be, the storyline of it’s so difficult is the opposite of distraction—it is empathy.
Catherine Hurwitz (June22)