Invisible Jerry (Adam Wallace, illus by Giuseppe Poli, EK Books)
It’s hard to imagine any reader not relating to Jerry’s sense of being ‘invisible’ to those around him—he feels isolated at school and it seems nobody appreciates his worth as an individual. Nobody, that is, until Molly. Adam Wallace (whose other books for children are mainly humorous and often for a slightly older age range) expands a simple idea into a deeper narrative. While the text is sparse, another layer of the story is brought to life by Giuseppe Poli’s illustrations, which are vivid and pacy, with loose inks blooming inside and around the pencil outlines. What’s lovely about this story is that the new friendship with Molly isn’t simply a ‘solution’ to Jerry’s loneliness, but rather the catalyst for him to develop confidence and become the ‘Molly’ to another child’s invisibility. The central ideas of compassion and recognition are explicit enough to be communicated easily with young children, but both the images and text also leave space for bigger questions to be asked. Teachers, parents or counsellors looking to reinforce values of self-growth, insightfulness and compassion among primary school students—as well as demonstrate how broad-reaching and powerful acts of recognition and kindness can be—will find this to be a valuable resource.
Anica Boulanger-Mashberg, an editor and writer, is a bookseller at The Hobart Bookshop