A refugee story of extraordinary power and beauty from the Amnesty CILIP Honour-winning author of The Bone Sparrow, Zana Fraillon, and Kate Greenaway Medal-winning illustrator Grahame Baker Smith.
Idris is a child refugee, born into a world of tents and fences. He has known no other life than this. He has no memories of the world outside.
Then the Wisp arrives, floating in on the evening breeze. Everyone who holds it finds their memories reawakened, their hopes of freedom reborn. But what about Idris, who has no memories? What will happen when he holds the magical Wisp?
Storytelling and imagination have the power to offer hope in this extraordinary picture book from the Amnesty CILIP Honour-winning author of The Bone Sparrow, Zana Fraillon, and Kate Greenaway Medal-winning illustrator Grahame Baker Smith.
The combination of the moving story, so simply and eloquently told, with the beautiful and involving illustrations will be an inspiration to all readers...Wisp is a powerful, evocative book for our times and is recommended for readers five and up but should really be read by young and old alike. - Books+Publishing
"Idris lived in a small, small world. A world where fences grew from the dirt and where shadows ruled."
In a place of darkness and loneliness, a young boy discovers a wisp. Unnoticed by others, Idris gently holds it, but the wisp is not for him. It sends Idris running past rows and rows of tents until the wisp is with its rightful owner. Only then can the joyful memories it holds be set free.
Idris finds wisp after wisp and each one guides him to its owner until only one remains. But this wisp belongs to Idris. And he has not had a long life full of joy and experiences. What could it possibly contain?
Heartbreakingly beautiful, Wisp tackles the despair of life as an asylum seeker. Fraillon's poetic storytelling takes the reader on an extraordinary journey before the aching realisation of what it means to be a child in a refugee camp. Wisp makes comment on both the beauty and despair of the people who are victims of brutal government policies and the place of children within detention centres.
The illustrations by Kate Greenaway Medal-winning Graham Baker Smith are an aptly oppressive canvas of blues and blacks. There is a beautiful sadness to the skilful use of light and the hope it signifies.
Written by Amnesty CILIP Honour-winning author of The Bone Sparrow, Zana Fraillon's Wisp is a moving story and a powerful tool for developing empathy and compassion. - Reading Time
This is a vital and surprisingly beautiful book that should be read by parents as well as children. [The Bone Sparrow] - Daily Telegraph
This is an exquisite, heart-rendingly honest portrayal of life in a refugee detention camp. [The Bone Sparrow] - Good Reading
It's an important and difficult topic, and Fraillon has more than done it justice. A children's book for all ages. [The Bone Sparrow] - Herald Sun
Zana Fraillon (she/her) was born in Naarm (Melbourne), but spent her early childhood in San Francisco. Her 2016 novel The Bone Sparrow won the ABIA Book of the Year for Older Children, the Readings Young Adult Book Prize and the Amnesty CILIP Honour. It was also shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Awards, the Queensland Literary Awards, the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Gold Inky and the CILIP Carnegie Medal.
Her book The Lost Soul Atlas (2020) won the 2020 Aurealis Award for Best Children's Fiction and was shortlisted for the 2021 Children's Book Council Award for Book of the Year: Older Readers.
She spent a year in China teaching English and now lives in Melbourne with her three children, husband and two dogs. When Zana isn't reading or writing, she likes to explore the museums and hidden passageways scattered across Melbourne. They provide the same excitement as that moment before opening a new book - preparing to step into the unknown where a whole world of possibilities awaits.