October 13 2021
The Curiousities, by Zana Fraillon and Phil Lesnie
Title: The Curiousities
Author: Zana Fraillon
Illustrator: Phil Lesnie
Genre/ issues: Picture book. Neurodivergence. Fantasy.
I usually do picture books posts in a set of 3 or 4, but the couple I wanted to share today are worthy of their own posts. The Curiosities by @zanafraillon and @phillesnie is breathtaking. Miro wakes one morning to find that the world is a little different. The Curiosities have chosen to nest on him, and they help him to discover all the marvels that hide in the shadows where no-one looks. Sometimes it’s wonderful, as he explores the world in new and different ways – but sometimes, the shadowy Curiosities that float around him make Miro feel alone and invisible.
There are so many layers to this wonderful book. On the surface, it could be seen as a lovely story about looking at the world differently, but there are myriad beautiful celebrations of disability and diversity, and a strong message about taking pride in who you are and what makes you you. Zana talks in the endnotes about drawing on her family experiences with Tourette syndrome, and about the importance of recognising how differently abled we all are. Phil reflects on the impact of his Filipino heritage on his illustrations, and his musing on how neurodivergence might be different in a world which valued and elevated brain difference, rather than viewed it as an impairment.
A powerful book, told with gentleness, sweetness and sensitivity. This is my favourite picture book of the year.