Sarah’s Heavy Heart (New Frontier) is the story of girl who carries a heavy heart wherever she goes. She knows it is hers to carry but she just wishes it wasn’t so heavy. Then one day at the bus stop, something floats by…
This story came about when I drew a little picture of a girl carrying a heavy heart on her back. I liked the way the curve of the heart fitted with the curve of the girl’s back. From that image, I then put together a story depicting the burden of a heavy heart, then introduced the girl to somebody who had quite a different problem with his heart. The ending then came together – balance.
Sarah’s story is basically about sharing one’s problems. Children relate to the need to talk about things that make them sad and adults may identify with the search for love and friendship. I often feel like this is a grown-up book disguised as a children’s book.
My favourite moment of making this book was the night I decided to pair Sarah up with her tortoise friend. I had tried other animals – dogs, birds, snails – before it struck me: the burden of the tortoise’s shell parallels the weight of Sarah’s heart.
The illustrations were done with watercolour and ink.