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The Journey by Francesca Sanna

Francesca Sanna’s The Journey is a beautiful, powerful book that delivers a timely message to readers.  It describes the journey of a brave family who must flee from their home to escape a war.  Francesca Sanna created this picture book after interviewing refugees in Italy.

Educators can use this book to teach a variety of literature lessons to students: theme, symbolism, tone, perspective, illustrator’s craft, and author’s craft and purpose.  It is available on Epic (, which is free to educators during this time of remote learning.

My fifth graders’ attention was immediately captured by the first pages of the book.  The illustrations expressed feelings and foreshadowed future danger. 

We had rich discussions about some of the symbols in the book.  What did the dark and light colors stand for?  What about the birds?

We also discussed the author’s purpose.  Why didn’t the author name a specific place and time in the story?  Whose perspective was she trying to share?  What did she want us to learn from her book?

Amnesty International recommends using this book to explore human rights.  They created a resource to encourage and support a discussion about The Journey.  Check it out!

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