No Longer Alone


And when I do feel like running about,/ I run riot.‘ Yet now I want to ‘hide under the stairs’. What has happened? Why is our main character shy and quiet and still? Who can release the trapped child within who wants to ‘talk the stars out of the Milky Way’ or ‘make a ‘stampede of sea storms’?  Can Dad encourage her to tell all the things that are filling her up and upsetting me? Can she return to feeling  ‘No Longer Alone’?

Joseph Coelho has created a beautiful body of work including such diverse titles as A Year of Nature Poems  to If all the world were…. Every title demonstrates empathy, emotional observation, responsibility and hope.

Robyn Wilson- Owen’s pictures interpret the main character’s feelings through contrasting the settings and movements; from closed room, to bold waves, from trapped stairwell to huge open cityscape beneath a hill, where she talks with her father. Cross-hatching is used to such emotional effect, identifying with our speaker’s confusion and conflict. As she clears her thoughts and talks, the scenes become clearer, whiter, where she is revealed as ‘No Longer Alone’.

In the conclusion, we see what happens after our main character has spoken with her father. There is such optimism in this story. We do not know what has caused her to shut herself away- this is open for the reader’s interpretation. However, we know she is hurt. We share the pain. Joseph Coelho is encouraging us to talk, to share, to listen-  and that there is hope on the other side.

‘No Longer Alone’ is mature, thoughtful and empathetic picture book ideal for philosophy, PSHE or small group sharing sessions. It is also a title to be shared, closely, at home. It reminds us to listen and care.


No Longer Alone

Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Robyn Wilson- Owen


Aunty says I’m shy, while my teacher says I’m quiet. Then, my grandmother says I don’t like to run about. However all the time I talk and talk; ‘I talk the leaves off the trees./ I talk the birds out of the sky.‘ Furthermore, ‘I sing the depth of whale song./ I summon the ocean’s roar. 
When Dad encourages me to try to summon the ‘before me, the once-upon-a time me, the before- I was- sad me, before I was alone.‘ I tell him how I want to be ‘No Longer Alone.‘ And Dad listens….
Joseph Coelho is attuned and empathetic. HIs words are like lilting currents of understanding. Somehow Robyn Wilson-Owen marries the stirring poetic narrative with pictures which move from a frozen animation, to the locked potential within our main character. Try it, read it, listen, for you too, will feel, ‘No Longer Alone’. 




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