“In our old house, Ma told me there was nothing to be scared of. No monsters hiding behind doors, or in wardrobes, or under beds. She said there were no dark places at all. But in the new house, under my new bed, that’s where I found Shadow.”
In my debut picture book story, Shadow, a young child moves into a new house. Ignored by her busy Mum she finds a shadow under the bed who she makes friends with. Together they make mischief and run away to the woods, where shadows are everywhere. After a lonely time alone, our protagonist is eventually found by Mum. It’s a story about loneliness and sadness, but ultimately it’s a story of an awareness of darkness – and shadows – and coming together in spite of this. Because of this deeper theme, I think the story is best suited for a slightly older audience – maybe, 5-7 year olds.
As a child, I moved house and countries a lot, and I remember being quite lonely because of it. I’m sure it’s because of this experience that SHADOW eventually got born. Perhaps, a good example of how difficult times can sometimes make the best stories!
I wrote the first draft of SHADOW several years ago. I wrote it very quickly, the words racing to get onto the page. I then did nothing with it for years – I was a writer for teenagers, what was I doing with a picture book story? When Lantana (my publisher) saw it, they snapped it up, seeing a new angle for representing mental health issues for children. They paired me with illustrator Anastasia Suvorova, who seemed to see right inside of my head and draw it onto the pages. The finished product is more beautiful and wonderful than I ever could have hoped for – her illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and completely right.
“Beautiful. A really powerful exploration”
“This soft-spoken story can be anything from a simple, lovely, modern fairy tale to a stunning allegory about overcoming fear & how a parent’s depression can affect a child”
“Helpful to any family going through a challenging situation yet hoping for a brighter future”