Recommended age: 8+

The Distance Between Me and the Cherry Tree

by Paola Peretti
The Distance Between Me and the Cherry Tree
by Paola Peretti

Mafalda is nine and she struggles to see. Her parents and her school are making steps to help her but her sight gets worse each day and she knows that in a few short months, she will not be able to see at all.

Mafalda tells us how she copes with her misty vision and the threat of complete darkness. She is very self-contained but presents naivety to her parents, to help them to cope with what is ahead. She doesn't share with them anything of her concerns for the future. Instead, she writes a list of the things she'd like to do before she loses her sight, and she befriends a school caretaker and a boy in her class. She realises they have their battles, too, and together they find ways of getting through and overcoming.

It's a lightly told story with humour and sadness, and also courage. Written in translation, it is made all the more poignant by the fact that the author is a young woman and herself facing this degenerative condition.

While aimed at younger readers, this is a book that will appeal to any age.

Review date: October 2018