Winner of the 2016 Bologna Ragazzi Award, My Little One is a series of sparse and rhythmic images drawn in simple grey pencil, measuring like a metronome the boundless love between mother and son.
A mother, welcoming her tiny son into the world, tells him the story of their lives, whispering to him as she swings him gently around. With each successive page, he grows while she shrinks, until she is being held by the man he has become. Albertine's weightless strokes and billowing bodies recall the flitting procession of a flipbook or an ephermeral notebook sketch. She choreographs the peculiar dance of aging, of the way our bodies fold, lean, tuck into one another as we grow old. Filled with poetry and questioning, Germano whittles his words down - each precise line reminds us of the pithy goodness of childhood. An eloquent portrait of life's waxing and waning, My Little One is a moving celebration of constant, unconditional love.
About the Author
Germano Zullo is a prolific writer and poet who has published numerous screenplays, short stories, novels, and illustrated books. He has received, among other awards, the prestigious Prix Sorciere in 2011.
Albertine was born in a Swiss village in 1967. In 1990 she opened a screen-printing workshop and since then has exhibited drawings, screen prints, and more in Geneva and around the world. She married and began her long artistic relationship with Germano Zullo in 1996. Their collaborations have received the Golden Apple of Bratislava (1999), a New York Times Best Illustrated Book (2012), and a Bologna Ragazzi Award for Fiction (2016), among other awards. About the translator: Katie Kitamura is a critic and novelist living in New York City. She is the author of Gone to the Forest and A Separation. A recipient of a Lannan Residency Fellowship, Kitamura has written for The New York Times, The Guardian, Granta, and BOMB. My Dearest One will be her first published translation.
"The parent becomes the child in this sparsely worded French import. The illustrations, done by 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Illustrator Award winner Albertine, rest in copious white space. They are spare, delicate line drawings in what appear to be pencil . . . The sense of movement on static pages is compelling—all in the form of fine, simple lines and dynamic page turns. This elegant story . . . provides food for thought for more-contemplative children . . . A playful and poignant take on parenthood." -- Kirkus Reviews
"This is a book about love, the passing of time, and the cycle of our lives. It is also about relationships. Slowly, page after page, the black pencil illustrations on milky white paper tell a restrained, eloquently poetic universal story." - The Bologna Ragazzi Award Jury
"In the stories created by the creative couple, the relationship between the text and image is so perfectly controlled and the articulation between the two crafts is seamless. The reading rhythm makes room for moments of silence, a dreamlike and reflexive pause before turning the next page...The mastery of the illustration takes the readers elsewhere: a place where they can indulge in a plethora of emotions and feelings that are exacerbated by inspired narration" - 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award Jury
"Where sober or eccentric, low key or outlandish, the worlds of Albertine are always elegant...she mingles reality and fantasy, the trivial and the sublime, dream and memory." - 2018 Hans Christian Andersen Award Jury
"My Little One is a unique love story featuring a parent and child. The diminutive size reflects titular “little one,” and later, the mother who becomes smaller as she ages and needs her son’s care...This small book packs a powerful message of undying love. The simplicity of Albertine’s line drawings emphasize the closeness between the mother and child, focusing the readers’ eyes on the pair as they focus only on each other." — Glass of Wine, Glass of Milk (blog)
"My Little One surpasses all the others. The book is a lake of pure emotion, the story of a life, of two lives, more precisely, of a mother and a son, revolving in time. Making us laugh and cry with each image, and ask: How is it possible to express so much with the tip of a pencil?" — Marine Landrot, Télérama
"Occasionally, there are drawings that are stronger than words. That is the case with this small book that tells the story of a life. A mother, a child, and the time that passes... Deeply moving! (For all ages.)" — Astrapi
"It seems that the optimal enjoyment of this book would be a parent or adult with a child on their lap, reading aloud the sentences, as the child listens and concentrates on the pictorial depictions . . . One of the final illustrations shows the now grown man cradling his mother to his heart as if laying her to rest . . . The reader’s perspective has now changed as our frame of reference is the boy, now the man gazing at his mother, a position both alien and inherent to our species . . . The capacity to love and care may just be timeless."— Sarah Wang, Vancouver Writers Fest What We're Reading Now blog