Mike Lucas (text), Jennifer Harrison (illus.), Olivia’s Voice, Midnight Sun Publishing, March 2017, 32 pp., $26.99 (hbk), ISBN: 9781925227192
This story by Mike Lucas takes us on a journey through Olivia’s eyes; a journey of curiosity, friendship and feeling. Being deaf, Olivia navigates her experiences and relationships through sight and touch – which is a gentle reminder to us to be grateful of the world in which we live and to experience it using all of our senses….take notice of that sunrise, feel the fresh clean linen when climbing into bed, or smell the cake baking in the oven.
Lucas’ story depicts a typical day of Olivia’s life; from waking up, going to school, and playing with friends before returning home to bed where the sounds of Olivia’s dreams come alive. Jennifer Harrison’s illustrations are so life like they could almost be mistaken for photos. Her use of colour and perspective supports the story by providing snapshots of Olivia’s journey, whether that’s the reading of her friends’ faces, her drawings which represent her ideas, or the aspects of daily noise which don’t exist for Olivia. I appreciated the joy which was apparent in the illustrations as Olivia smiled and played with her friends, cuddled with her mum, or took notice of the world around her.
An opportunity to explore difference and the unfamiliar with children is important as it encourages questioning, a curiosity and understanding of self and others; and challenges us to consider life from different perspectives.
Reviewed by Raquel Mayman