Review of It’s So Difficult

It’s So Difficult It’s So Difficult
by Guridi; illus. by the author; trans. from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel
Primary, Intermediate    Eerdmans    40 pp.    g
3/22    978-0-8028-5584-8    $17.99

In first-person narration, an anxious child describes their day. “When I leave the house, everything is so difficult for me. I feel a prickling that won’t go away, and every step I take is a triumph.” Between the overstimulating environment of the bus and an inability to answer a greeting from the baker or to say a classmate’s name, the young narrator struggles, hopeful that someday it won’t be so hard to say more than a quiet “yes” or “thanks.” Originally published in Spain, the book does a remarkable job of presenting the actions and feelings of a child who lives with severe anxiety. Spreads alternate: the child’s narration is printed in white type set starkly on black pages (mostly double-page spreads), while the following wordless spread or spreads feature hectic, emotionally charged drawings. While riding the bus, the narrator comments, “A man shouts. I don’t like it when people shout.” Turn the page, and we see a man’s face, mouth open, brows furrowed; the image is repeated over and over, filling much of the spread, on top of irregular blocks of color. A final scene gives the narrator and readers a small success and some relief. Reminiscent of Yashima’s Crow Boy, the book, with its flat text and uncomfortable, jarring art, makes a powerful impact.

From the March/April 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Maeve Visser Knoth

Maeve Visser Knoth is a librarian at Phillips Brooks School, Menlo Park, ­California. She has chaired the Notable Children’s Books Committee and taught at Notre Dame de Namur University and Lesley University.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing.