Two sisters share a close bond. When one wakes in a “wolfish” mood, the other, with patience, love, imagination and art, helps lift her sister to a place of joy. Yesterday, one of my children woke up in a “wolfish” mood and it did feel like the whole house was sinking. “Up became down. Bright became dim. Glad became gloom.” Our kids need examples like this beautiful creation, Virginia Wolf, to help them get through these times, help them heal, help them realise that it happens and that they’re not alone.
Maclear has loosely based the characters off writer Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell, a post-Impressionist artist. The place of joy in our story is Bloomsberry, which references the Bloomsbury Group. I’m pushing the boundaries a little when adding this to our pile of #womenshistory books, but I think it works, especially since we combined our read with the Virginia Woolf section in Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls.
Virginia Wolf appeals to both adults and children of varying ages. It’s poignant and profound. I love the page where we see Vanessa’s hand painting a stunning red flower. It could be any hand, Arsenault’s, our own, our children’s. With the book on their lap, kids can imagine themselves creating a wondrous world through the tip of a brush to help the downs become ups, dim become bright, gloom become glad. Or perhaps use the tip of a pen and write. Writing, like art, can clarify thought, inspire. It’s an empowering form of expression.