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.
FANNY BRITT is a writer, playwright, and translator. She has written a dozen plays and translated more than fifteen. She is the winner of the 2013 Governor General’s Literary Award in Drama for her play Bienveillance. Jane, the Fox and Me, her first graphic novel, was nominated for a Governor General’s Literary Award in Children’s Literature — Text, won a Libris Award, a Joe Shuster award, and was on the New York Times Best Illustrated Books list.
Isabelle Arsenault is an internationally renowned children’s book illustrator whose work has won many awards. Her books include Alpha, Virginia Wolf by Kyo Maclear, Cloth Lullaby by Amy Novesky, Once Upon a Northern Night by Jean E. Pendziwol and Migrant by Maxine Trottier.
Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault first collaborated on the graphic novel Jane, the Fox and Me, winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Children’s Illustration (French) and the Joe Shuster Awards for Best Writer and Best Artist. It was also named a New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book.
SUSAN OURIOU is considered to be one of Québec’s finest translators of literary fiction. With Christine Morelli, she has previously translated Fanny Britt’s acclaimed novel Hunting Houses for Arachnide.
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.
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.
Britt’s poetic prose captures Hélène’s heartbreaking isolation . . . [A] brutally beautiful story.
The theme is universal; girls, especially those who have been at the receiving end of negative comments, will relate to Hélène.
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.
Hélène’s emotional tangle is given poignant expression through Arsenault’s pitch-perfect mixed-media art...[Her] story is sweetly comforting and compelling.
More than a few readers will recognize themselves in Hélène and find comfort.