Anita and the Dragons
Hannah Carmona and Anna Cunha
As the story opens, young Anita watches the dragons high above the rooftop where she sits in a village in the Dominican Republic imagining she’s a ‘valiant princesa’. She’s done so for years and never lets the huge beasts scare her.
Today is different though: she must say goodbye to some special, much loved people including her Abuela
and actually meet one of these dragons. Indeed she must go inside the body of a massive beast for she and her immediate family are to be carried far, far away from their beautiful Caribbean homeland to a distant place where they’ll start a new life. Her Mama has talked of learning English, plenty of accessible hot water and electricity that’s reliable.
However such promises cannot stop the mounting anxiety she feels – “What if I’m lonely? What if I get scared?” – as she is confronted by the gigantic dragon; but she’s not alone in knowing that she will miss her island home, her parents and siblings are also filled with apprehension.
Now Anita must be that brave princesa again: with chin held high once more, she bids farewell to her home, promising to return one day, and then steps boldly forward into the unknown.
Anna Cunha’s captivating, soft focus illustrations work in perfect harmony with Hannah Carmona’s lyrical first person narrative in this sensitive exploration of emigration.