Illustrated by Amina Brenda Lynn Robinson
Once when I was in the States, and it may have been on my first visit in 1985, I went to an Ella Fitzgerald concert. Because her voice was so mighty I had imagined Ella Fitzgerald to be a big woman, which she may have been at one time. But she was getting old by then (probably about my age by now: 67 in 2013!) and she was tiny. She sang divinely, tottering on very high heels. I was transported. I couldn’t believe my good fortune.
As I looked at her, I recalled how tall my grandfather had once been, and then how tiny he was as he lay dying. I thought how lovely it was that in our life cycle we grow upwards for a while and then gently sink down. I remembered holding my grandfather’s hand rather tentatively and hoping it would be of some comfort through his pneumonia. He was 96 and died soon after my hand-holding. This was the inspiration for Sophie. It’s a life cycle story from my heart. The original Australian edition is long out of print but the American edition, seen here, is still available.