Why diversity matters at Christmas 03/12/20
Afraid of the Dark
Publisher: Little Tiger
In this gentle story, Amy and her father move house but Amy cannot sleep in her unfamiliar new bedroom. With the help of stories and friends, she finally finds a way to make her bedroom feel like a safe place.
The pastel-hued illustrations suggest reassurance and comfort. There are plenty of modern touches, from the distant dome of a mosque in the city they leave behind, to the cycle lane and the multi-ethnic characters met along the way. Details like an ironing board strapped to the roof rack, or a lost sock, endear Amy and her father to the reader.
The illustrations move easily between imagination and reality, with shadows suggesting nightmares, a library turning into a magical land, and stars following the little girl home, where they eventually provide the key to helping her feel settled.
Attentive readers will see that it is as much the friendly welcome she gets from other children, as the act of decorating her bedroom or listening to her father's story, that helps Amy settle in. Some child readers can learn, through discussion, to welcome strangers, and others can feel reassured that a new place will, eventually, feel like home.