Girl on Wire
Puffin Books, 2018
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
High above the city buildings, a cold breeze biting her cheeks, a young girl stands alone for hours. Stretched before her is a wire that she must cross to be able to move forward but fear holds her back. But as dark thunder clouds gather and a storm threatens, she knows she must make a move. To stay where she is, is impossible and so she takes that first tentative step. As she inches forward, her skirt swishing around her legs, the storm breaks and she realises how far she will fall if she fails. Overcome, she falters, stoops and cries for help.
A swooping eagle reassures her that all will be well but she has to “walk the wire by yourself”. Will she find the courage to move forward?
All around us people, adults and children alike, are having to step out onto their own personal wires, and no matter how strong the support from those around us are, we still have to walk it by ourselves. Sometimes it seems an impossible journey and we may have to start several times before we dig deep and find those inner reserves that allow us to tiptoe towards the other end. While the personal route of the journey and its destination may be unique to each of us, nevertheless the fear of the unknown and of failure, the feelings of trepidation and nervousness are universal and in this beautifully and evocatively illustrated allegory, we learn that we are not alone. Life cannot go forward if we don’t take that first step, wherever it is leading us.
With the mental health of our young people finally acknowledged as a critical issue in their well-being, this, at first, seems a book for older students, but in the hands of a skilful adult even little ones will be able to tell of something they were afraid of that they have conquered and begin to reflect on their inner strength as well as acknowledging that some things are hard to get right first time but with courage and confidence and a belief in yourself it’s OK to try again and to seek help if it is just too much. Like the girl on the wire, we can curl our toes tighter, stand a bit taller, and raise out arms to embrace what is on the far edge.
From the author of Suri’s Wall, this is an important addition to your mindfulness collection.