A Story About Afiya
James Berry and Anna Cunha
Oh my goodness, Lantana publish such beautiful books and here’s another one written by Jamaican poet James Berry and illustrated by Anna Cunha.
The text is almost 30 years old and now Anna Cunha has created some stunningly gorgeous illustrations to accompany James’ lyrical prose.
The story is of Afiya, whose Swahili name means health. She’s described as having ‘fine black skin that shows off her white clothes and big brown eyes that laugh and long limbs that play.’
Young Afiya has a very special white summer dress that she wears every day, washing it every night. It’s a very special garment that picks up and collects images of things Afiya experiences – sunflowers, red roses,
grasses, butterflies, wild animals from the zoo, or fishes from the seaside.
Strangely, by night the imprint remains when she washes her dress but the following morning it’s always hanging ‘white as new paper’ once more, ready for a new design to imprint itself upon it. – boulders or autumn leaves for instance.
Each one is a source of amazement to Afiya; equally readers will be amazed at Anna Cunha’s crafting of same. Her magical matt illustrations are as lyrical as James’ text and provide the ideal complement – a perfectly seamless, unique fusion of two kinds of artistry to set the imagination soaring sky high.