Sincerely, Harriet

Sarah Winifred Searle

Sincerely, Harriet
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Sincerely, Harriet

Sarah Winifred Searle

Harriet Flores struggles with boredom and an unrequited crush while learning to manage her chronic illness through a long, hot, 1990s summer in Chicago. She uses her imagination to cope, which sometimes gets her into trouble, as she makes up fantastical fibs and wonders if there are ghosts upstairs.

One neighbor, Pearl, encourages Harriet to read and write, leading Harriet to have a breakthrough and discover the power of storytelling.

Review

This new middle-grade graphic novel from a Perth resident explores loneliness and illness. Harriet is having a tough time, she has moved to a new home in a new city, she’s been unwell and is being snubbed by the old friends she has tried to connect with. She begins to spend time with an elderly neighbour, an ex-librarian named Pearl who lends Harriet books. They slowly develop a sweet and caring friendship.

Harriet has a tendency to let her imagination run wild, and after getting the wrong idea about some of her neighbours and surroundings, she is encouraged to write stories. The illustrations are smooth and sweet, there are lots of pastel tones and a gentle plot that highlights the comforts of reading, and the benefits of writing as a creative outlet, as well as the relief that can come with the sharing of one’s problems and fears.

It’s an encouraging story that may provide comfort for those living with a chronic illness, and may help others to understand some of the frustrations of Multiple Sclerosis, which can include emotional distress, lack of energy and difficulties with balance. This is a valuable and moving book that is absolutely perfect for readers of Raina Telgemeier aged 10+.


Kim Gruschow is the children’s book buyer at Readings St Kilda.

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