From the glorious new pairing of Jane Godwin and Gabriel Evans comes Little One, a timeless story that reminds us nothing is ever truly lost. Here, Jane shares her inspiration for the book.
There are stories where a child loses a precious object and is reunited with it, but Little One isn’t one of those stories (sorry!).
It’s a story of how the loss of that treasured object becomes part of the growing independence of the child. When Pippi loses her doll, Little One, there is much searching and even an attempt to replace her, but ultimately the event becomes a rite of passage in Pippi’s own growth and sense of herself in the world.
Growth is positive and necessary, but it often comes with loss, with leaving something or some part of yourself behind; a sense of a place you can never go back to. To me, one of the challenges of growing up is to maintain one’s childlike essence, true nature and vulnerability, while learning along the way and ‘growing wiser’ from the difficulties life will inevitably throw at you.
Themes of loss tend to come up in several of my books. To me, childhood can be magical, fun, exciting and adventurous, but it can also be a lonely place. All children experience loss – sometimes it’s loss that adults understand, like the death of a pet or a grandparent. Sometimes it’s not understood as loss by adults, and the serious nature of it might be overlooked. Transitional objects can feel to the child as real as a living, breathing person, often even forming part of the child’s sense of identity.
As well as having powerful memories myself of the loss of a special toy (it feels wrong to call these things ‘toys’, because they are so much more than that!), I observed in one of my nieces a strong bond she had with a doll that she’d had since birth. She took it on a family overseas trip and it was lost in the hotel laundry, never to be found again. My niece gets a faraway look in her eyes whenever we mention this doll, and her nostalgia and a sense of grief is palpable, even though she is now eighteen and in many ways a typical eighteen-year-old girl!
Little One came out of these thoughts and memories. I hope you enjoy it.