Anita and the Dragons by Hannah Carmona and Anna Cunha is set in the Dominican Republic, the pages are dappled with beautiful examples of Anita’s heritage. The dragons are not what they seem but their roar is very real.
This story draws you in so many ways. Settled and secure, Anita is a fierce Princesa – valiant and forthright. She is assertive and strong. She makes believe her island is her kingdom, however, hovering around are the dragons. The planes.
It becomes apparent through interactions with her parents and Abuela that they are to travel far away and settle elsewhere. The fearlessness that Anita has starts to gently ebb away the closer it gets to moving day. A monumental moment of doubt takes hold of Anita as her family are about to board the dragon (plane). This leads to Anita taking a deep breath which has the same power and velocity as the wind beneath the dragon’s wings would have – a powerful breath that propels her forward.
Anita transforms from the fearful to the fearless dragon.
The most beautiful quality of this story is the balance between the heaviness Anita begins to feel but the softness of the illustrations. The illustrations are comforting and are almost whispering to you, everything will be ok.
This is a story of migration – the human story of migration. The transforming illustrations towards the end of the story set the pace of change that Anita feels as she ventures into the sky. The dragon’s wings become her own and with that, the whole world is waiting for her.
Anita and the Dragons is a book to be savoured, discussed and then shared. It lends itself to lower junior class collections.
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