A Story about Afiya

by | Oct 2, 2020 | Book Review, Fiction, Picture Book

A story about Afiya (cover)

Book Details

A Story about Afiya
James Berry, illus. Anna Cunha. London: Lantana Publishing, hb 978 1 9113 7333 9, 2020, £11.99, 32pp.
Picture book, fiction, 4-6 years

Afiya has just one dress to wear, a white frock that she washes each night. But it’s all she needs, because this dress, as special as it is simple, records memories of each day of her childhood.

Afiya spends her days outside, in a wondrous environment that decorates her dress with everything from ‘slender stalks and petals’ to tigers, birds and fish. Each night, it is washed clean, ready for tomorrow’s adventures. Pictured alone in every spread, Afiya is alive with happiness, not loneliness – there’s an important message here about children’s need to be free to explore the natural world, and to be alone at times.

Anna Cunha’s illustrations are full of gentle movement and a stunning chalky colour palette; this picture book is a visual treat.
By presenting the idea of memory as a physical imprint, and exploring it in nature, scene by scene, the author and illustrator have created a joyful meditation in visual form.

Publishers like Lantana are doing so much to ensure that all children see themselves reflected positively in books. A Story about Afiya is a wonderful addition to any home or early years setting – a future classic.

Review by Dr Kate Lee