Author: Kyo Maclear
Illustrator: Isabelle Arsenault
Buy Book – Virginia Wolf
A story which broaches the complicated subject of the depression of a family member.
Kindness, perseverance and creativity prevail.
This book suggests kind ways of interacting with people who are having difficulties or have a mood related illness.
Virginia and Vanessa are sisters. Vanessa paints and draws making life bright, expansive and cheery.
Virginia is cantankerous and unhappy. She withdraws from the world and frightens people away with her ‘wolfish’ behaviour.
“DO NOT WEAR THAT CHEERFUL YELLOW DRESS”
“DO NOT BRUSH YOUR TEETH SO LOUDLY”
“LEAVE ME ALONE”
Everything is dark and irritating for Virginia.
However Vanessa loves her sister and patiently spends time around her. She tries to cheer her sister up in many ways. Most of them don’t seem to work. Her perseverance and love finally gets Virginia talking about what might make her feel better….a perfect place with flowers and trees to climb and no doldrums.
While Virginia slept Vanessa paints. Her bedroom walls are transformed into a garden full of beauty and adventure.
Virginia awakes and begins her familiar wolfish behaviour.
When she notices that her sister is painting the outside inside she is so surprised that she stops her howling and joins in the game.
She said, “Wolves like to wander around, so we painted a field with a big roaming space.”
“We made turquoise birds and purple butterflies out of coloured paper.”
Releasing her creativity, Virginia tells a story of a grey-shelled snail which reaches the top of a mountain without even realising it.
The whole house became light with the lifting of Virginia’s mood.
When she wakes in the beautiful room the next morning, she can still feel the happiness and chooses it over her critical, wolfish thoughts.
The decorated room reflects that love and freedom are all around her and allows her to see around the edges of her unhappiness.
Cleverly illustrated story has a bright ending which reflects that with time, love and creativity even the darkest feelings can be overcome.
This story is loosely inspired by the writer Virginia Woolf and her older sister painter Vanessa Bell.Buy Book – Virginia Wolf