Illustrated by :Isabelle Arsenault ,
Translated by :Susan Ouriou ,
Translated by :Christelle Morelli
Imprint:Groundwood Books - Toronto
Form detail:Picture book
Audience:Juvenile: Age (years) 10 - 14, Grade (US) 5 - 8
Dimensions:11.25in x 8.5 x 0.5 in | 1.46 lb
Page Count:104 pages
Illustrations:Full color throughout
A graphic novel about bullying, body image and the transformative power of fiction.
Hélène has been inexplicably ostracized by the girls who were once her friends. Her school life is full of whispers and lies — Hélène weighs 216; she smells like BO. Her loving mother is too tired to be any help. Fortunately, Hélène has one consolation, Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre. Hélène identifies strongly with Jane’s tribulations, and when she is lost in the pages of this wonderful book, she is able to ignore her tormentors. But when Hélène is humiliated on a class trip in front of her entire grade, she needs more than a fictional character to see herself as a person deserving of laughter and friendship.
Leaving the outcasts’ tent one night, Hélène encounters a fox, a beautiful creature with whom she shares a moment of connection. But when Suzanne Lipsky frightens the fox away, insisting that it must be rabid, Hélène’s despair becomes even more pronounced: now she believes that only a diseased and dangerous creature would ever voluntarily approach her. But then a new girl joins the outcasts’ circle, Géraldine, who does not even appear to notice that she is in danger of becoming an outcast herself. And before long Hélène realizes that the less time she spends worrying about what the other girls say is wrong with her, the more able she is to believe that there is nothing wrong at all.
This emotionally honest and visually stunning graphic novel reveals the casual brutality of which children are capable, but also assures readers that redemption can be found through connecting with another, whether the other is a friend, a fictional character or even, amazingly, a fox.
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.
FANNY BRITT is a playwright, novelist and translator. She collaborated with Isabelle Arsenault on two previous graphic novels: Jane, the Fox and Me, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Illustration (French) and the Joe Shuster Award for Best Writer and for Best Artist, and Louis Undercover. Her other award-winning works include the play Bienvaillance and her first novel, Les maisons (published in English as Hunting Houses). Fanny lives in Montreal, Quebec, with her husband and two sons.
ISABELLE ARSENAULT is an internationally renowned children’s book illustrator. Her award-winning books include Jane, the Fox and Me and Louis Undercover by Fanny Britt, Spork and Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear, Cloth Lullaby by Amy Novesky (BolognaRagazzi Award) and Colette’s Lost Pet, which marked her debut as an author. She has won the Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature three times, and three of her picture books have been named as New York Times Best Illustrated Books of the Year. Isabelle lives in Montreal, Quebec, with her family.
SUSAN OURIOU is an award-winning fiction writer and literary translator with over sixty translations and co-translations of fiction, non-fiction, children’s and young-adult literature to her credit. She has won the Governor General’s Literary Award for Translation. Jane, the Fox and Me, co-translated with Christelle Morelli, was named to IBBY’s Honour List. She has also published Nathan, a novel for young readers. Susan lives in Calgary, Alberta.
CHRISTELLE MORELLI is a literary translator and French immersion teacher. She has translated several works of fiction for publication, including Jane, the Fox and Me and Stolen Sisters. Having lived in Quebec and France, she now makes her home with her family in Western Canada.
A sensitive and possibly reassuring take on a psychological vulnerability that is all too common and not easily defended. - Kirkus Review
More than a few readers will recognize themselves in Hélène and find comfort. - Publishers Weekly
Loneliness is a language that doesn’t need translation... it’s a language understood by anyone who has endured the interminable wait for a Géraldine of her own. - New York Times
Readers will be delighted to see Helene’s world change as she grows up, learning to ignore the mean girls and realizing that, like Jane, she is worthy of friendship and love. - School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW
Hélène’s emotional tangle is given poignant expression through Arsenault’s pitch-perfect mixed-media art...[Her] story is sweetly comforting and compelling. - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, STARRED REVIEW
Britt’s poetic prose captures Hélène’s heartbreaking isolation . . . [A] brutally beautiful story. - Horn Book, STARRED REVIEW
The theme is universal; girls, especially those who have been at the receiving end of negative comments, will relate to Hélène. - Library Media Connections